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Purple Hibiscus: A Novel Paperback – April 17, 2012
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Purple Hibiscus, Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's debut, begins like many novels set in regions considered exotic by the western reader: the politics, climate, social customs, and, above all, food of Nigeria (balls of fufu rolled between the fingers, okpa bought from roadside vendors) unfold like the purple hibiscus of the title, rare and fascinating. But within a few pages, these details, however vividly rendered, melt into the background of a larger, more compelling story of a joyless family. Fifteen-year-old Kambili is the dutiful and self-effacing daughter of a rich man, a religious fanatic and domestic tyrant whose public image is of a politically courageous newspaper publisher and philanthropist. No one in Papa's ancestral village, where he is titled "Omelora" (One Who Does For the Community), knows why Kambili¹s brother cannot move one of his fingers, nor why her mother keeps losing her pregnancies. When a widowed aunt takes an interest in Kambili, her family begins to unravel and re-form itself in unpredictable ways. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
By turns luminous and horrific, this debut ensnares the reader from the first page and lingers in the memory long after its tragic end. First-person narrator Kambili Achike is a 15-year-old Nigerian girl growing up in sheltered privilege in a country ravaged by political strife and personal struggle. She and her brother, Jaja, and their quiet mother, who speaks "the way a bird eats, in small amounts," live this life of luxury because Kambili's father is a wealthy man who owns factories, publishes a politically outspoken newspaper and outwardly leads the moral, humble life of a faithful Catholic. The many grateful citizens who have received his blessings and material assistance call him omelora, "The One Who Does for the Community." Yet Kambili, Jaja and their mother see a side to their provider no one else does: he is also a religious fanatic who regularly and viciously beats his family for the mildest infractions of his interpretation of an exemplary Christian life. The children know better than to discuss their home life with anyone else; "there was so much that we never told." But when they are unexpectedly allowed to visit their liberated and loving Aunty Ifeoma, a widowed university professor raising three children, family secrets and tensions bubble dangerously to the surface, setting in motion a chain of events that allow Kambili to slowly blossom as she begins to question the authority of the precepts and adults she once held sacred. In a soft, searing voice, Adichie examines the complexities of family, faith and country through the haunted but hopeful eyes of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. Lush, cadenced and often disconcerting, this is an accomplished first effort.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Its a story about a girl growing up in a world of two families - her father's house and her aunt's house. Both want the absolute best for their children, but what that best looks like is very very different in each house.
The contrast between the two households is fantastic. The end result of the choice we make for our children is sometimes tragic.
The story is captivating, easy to read, fantastically vivid and a little bit sweaty.
Although, the plot structure and narrative do not bring forth any new ideas or scenarios, and are at times predictable...there is a lyricism and poetic images in the writing that I find stunning.
Stories set out with the intent to disparage past and current systems, often (in my mind) serve a self fulfilling prophecy...meaning the plot unravels as it HAS to unaravel, in order to prove its moral point. It leaves the reader with a sense of disbelief, and no real connection for or towards the characters. Perhaps Papa Nukwukwu seemed the only tangible device of the story, and that is because his presence, his actions, his life reflects that of most elderly people around the world. However, with the case of Papa Eugene, Aunty Ifeoma and her children, and mostly Fada Amaka...their characters and actions seem forced and exaggerated.
There is no doubt that colonialism, religion and assimilation have played a major hand in re creating countries where conflicts of culture, interests and beliefs set the stage. However, this book presents its case and closes the door on a discussion of solutions before it ends. It reads as a made up world, far away, that solves its problems for the reader...leaving us to put down Purple Hibiscus and start on another book without much secondary thought to the plight of Nigeria or its people.