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Efuru (Heinemann African Writers Series) 59605th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0435900267
ISBN-10: 0435900269
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Editorial Reviews


It is rare to find a book by a native Nigerian woman in print in the United States. Efuru is even more noteworthy because with this book, in 1966, Flora Nwapa became the first native Nigerian woman to be published in Nigeria and the first non-white African woman to be published in England. Efuru explores Nigerian village life and values, a world where spirits are a part of everyday life - as accepted, respected, and feared as one's own relatives. Efuru, a highly respected woman of her village, carries on the family tradition of treating others well and is successful as a trader. Yet her personal life is mired with tragedy: she has two unsuccessful marriages and her only child dies. In her village, a single, childless woman is a cause for fear, and the villagers begin to gossip, a favorite and powerful pastime. They question her good deeds and wonder what she has done to upset the spirits, whose influence and power are at the center of their lives. In her struggle to understand all that has happened to her Efuru seeks the advice of the dibias, village doctors, and finds her spiritual guide and the path she must follow. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

About the Author

Flora Nwapa was born in 1931 and brought up at Oguta in eastern Nigeria. She was educated at Archdeacon Crowther's Memorial Girls School, Port Harcourt, CMS Girls' School, Lagos, University College Ibadan, and Edinburgh University. On her return to Nigeria, she was appointed a Woman Education Officer in Calabar and then went to Queen's School, Enugu to teach English and Geography. She was Assistant Registrar (Public Relations) at the University of Lagos until she returned to the East Central State during the crisis. At the end of the war, she was appointed a member of the East Central State Executive Council and was for a time the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Development. She was the first woman Nigerian to be published. She is the author of Idu (AWS), This is Lagos (Nwamife) and Efuru (AWS, 1966).

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Product Details

  • Series: Heinemann African Writers Series
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann; 59605th edition (January 1, 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435900269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435900267
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best I have ever read. I first read it when I was eight years old (i'm 16 now) and i have read over and over again. This book so accurately details the rural Nigerian village life. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is intrested in African literature.
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There is a reason why my favorite novelists are African women writers. They write in an intelligent, jargon-free, lucid way that makes their perspectives emerge that much stronger by the end of the book. This is a work that hits at the heart of central questions that women continue to ask today: how are we valued? how do we value ourselves? what makes a successful woman - is it domestic success or professional success- and what if we can't achieve both? If you buy this you should also read Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood, which is actually a response to Efuru. If you can, also read Andrade's The Nation Writ Small: African Fictions and Feminisms.
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My love of books is limited to non-fiction. I used to remember how some of my high school classmates from my English honors course could easily engage in a literary discussion like members of the Algonquin Table while I struggled, scratching my head to understand a word they were saying. From then on I was hoping I would not have to read another book that would make me spend hours of reading and still not get past the first chapter. When the time came in my literature class to read another book, I did not want to make a choice that would be beyond my reading capabilities, and so I chose Flora Nwapa's Efuru. Efuru, the first book published internationally by an African woman, fitted my description of an easy to understand and entertaining piece of literature. Nwapa's use of everyday, down to earth language makes it appealing to people who want read a book at a quick rate and do not want to face a reading challenge. Her narrative story gives a window into the life and culture of the Igbo people of Nigeria through her detailed description of the story. If the reader wants to explore a different culture where women have a higher status than most parts of the world, Efuru should satisfy that desire. Nwapa shows how a woman can become self-reliant and emotionally and financially independent through her own spirit, the plight of so many women today.
When I read a book I want to peek into the culture, language, history, and religion of people around the world. I had no clear view of what life in Africa was like much less the Igbo way of life. She describes Nigerian village life and values. Spirits play a major part of their lives and are "as accepted, respected, and feared as one's own relatives," as Holly Smith from her book 500 Great Books by Women mentions.
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By rENa on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Flora Nwapa's Efuru is a dynamic story of a woman struggling to achieve in society. Written in 1966 in the midst of the African Civil War, Nwapa tries to portray woman as positive, independent woman who are very productive. From the beginning of her life Efuru faces the harsh reality of growing up without a mother. However, nothing prepares her for the challenges she copes with in marriage and family life. Through her misfortunes Efuru learns that she has been chosen as a follower of Uhamiri the goddess of the lake, giving her back meaning in life. Efuru is a heartfelt story that portrays actual village life in Nigeria along with struggles of women. Once one actually picks up the book, he or she transforms into Efuru as Flora Nwapa gracefully delineates the details in the African woman Efuru's life. Thus I personally found that the story was marvelous and attention grasping, even though one may find some situations in the book to be rather depressing, it was a novel that you really will not be able to set aside. The affect it had on me was that it taught me many new things, about life, about love, about defeat, and last but not least, about triumph.
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