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Purple Hibiscus: A Novel Paperback – April 17, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Jaja's emotions are closer to the surface, more accessible to his spirit of rebellion. But Kambili is her mother's daughter, cautious, constrained and eager to please. Her slow awakening is all the more significant because of the tremendous act of will necessary to break free of her conditioning. This experience is agonizing for Kambili, like the prickling of a limb that has fallen asleep. Her adolescent physical and emotional flowering enhanced by newly found self-expression and self-awareness, Kambili is a product of a world that leaves children unprotected, at the mercy of a merciless man. She is the observer, the reporter, emotionless as she describes the constant abuse. Like a sieve, Kambili filters every action, sorting, learning.
Eugene passes on the lessons he has learned in his own childhood, taught by brutal Catholic missionaries who used temporal punishment; the abused is the abuser. Rigid religious instruction, intolerant and unforgiving, is the tool with which this man terrorizes his wife and children.Read more ›
Adichie presents you with a portrait of domestic violence very much from the inside. We see the father through Kambili's eyes as a pillar of the community and someone she genuinely loves. Therefore the abuse he administers is seen only as a gesture of love for her own good. It's only when Kambili is pulled out of this horrific environment that she is able to see how wrong it is and understand that this abuse is not normal. While this novel really involves you in the struggles of its characters, it also shows you a lot about the complex political and religious struggles occurring in Nigeria. It's one of those wonderful stories that can broaden your perspective while being incredibly emotionally engaging. This is an amazing first novel from such a young writer and I hope she will continue to write many more books with as much heart and soul as Purple Hibiscus.
"Purple Hibiscus" is a coming-of-age story set in Nigeria during the Abacha military regime of the mid-1990s, told through the eyes of 15-year-old Kambili Achike. Kambili's father Eugene, a wealthy Igbo businessman and newspaper publisher, is in many ways a heroic figure; he is a pillar of the church, loyal and generous to his employees and home village and one of the few publishers with the courage to stand up to the military government. The same fanatic religious faith that feeds his stern public morality, however, leads him to ostracize his father and physically abuse his wife and children.
Kambili, who has lived under her father's hand throughout her life, is a shadow of a person as the novel begins. As the story progresses, she learns independence and self-reliance from her university-professor aunt Ifeoma, her teenage cousin Amaka and the iconoclastic priest Father Amadi. At the same time, the deterioration of the country and her father's increasingly abusive behavior drive the family closer to collapse.
"Purple Hibiscus" is a powerful and sophisticated first novel, and comparison between Adichie and Igbo literary giant Chinua Achebe is not out of place. Achebe's novels, though, tend toward the epic, using their characters to tell the story of their country. Adichie has also spoken in this voice, in short stories such as "Half of a Yellow Sun," but "Purple Hibiscus" is a more intimate portrait. Politics sometimes intrudes through scenes of student riots and the persecution of one of Eugene's editors, but most of the political events happen offstage and are seen through their effect on the family. For all the powerful sense of place in "Purple Hibiscus," Kambili's story is one that could happen anywhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have an interest in modern fiction (especially modern African fiction), look no further that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is a master craftswoman. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Alisyn
Before reading this, Half of a Yellow Sun was my favorite book. Now I'm not sure which I love the most. I could not put this book down. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Janice Matasi
“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an award winning Nigerian author, has penned an... Read more
Very poignant, but an excellent read all the same. Bought two more titles by Chimamanda. I'm hooked!Published 8 days ago by Merciem
This is a memorable coming-of-age novel, Adichie's first. It takes place during the military dictatorship of the 1990's, whose oppressive shadow is everywhere. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Molly
Well written but disturbing. I do not want to reveal anything about the plot to spoil potential readers' experience, but some of domestic abuse scenes were difficult to get... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Jaja
One of the best books of hers i have ever read...I also read Half a Yellow Sun. This is a winner for anyone interested in really developed
character and a story.