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Fifteen-year-old Kambili's world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.
When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili's father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father's authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.
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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 MarlerFrom the Back Cover:
"One of the best novels to come out of Africa in years."--The Baltimore Sun
"A breathtaking debut. . .[Adichie] is very much the 21st-century daughter of that other great Igbo novelist, Chinua Achebe." - The Washington Post Book World
"The author's straightforward prose captures the tragic riddle of a man who has made an unquestionably positive contribution to the lives of strangers while abandoning the needs of those who are closest to him." - The New York Times Book Review
"At once the portrait of a country and a family, of terrible choices and the tremulous pleasure of an odd, rare purple hibiscus blooming amid a conforming sea of red ones"--San Francisco Chronicle
"Prose as lush as the Nigerian landscape that it powerfully evokes. . . . Adichie's understanding of a young girl's heart is so acute that her story ultimately rises above its setting and makes her little part of Nigeria seem as close and vivid as Eudora Welty's Mississippi." - The Boston Globe
"Adichie renders this coming-of-age story beautifully. Every character has dimension; every description resonates like cello music. . . . [Her] strong, lyrical voice earns her a place on the shelf squarely next to Gabriel Garc'a M‡rquez and Alex Haley and Chinua Achebe." --San Diego Union-Tribune
"A fiction writer's job is to create a world so detailed, evocative and emotionally true that, like Alice, you fall into it. Adichie does exactly that, placing among the frangipani trees and bougainvillea of her native country a family demoralized and degraded by a father's cruelty. Amazing." --The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[A] splendid debut." --Vanity Fair
"Stunning. . . .With Purple Hibiscus, Adichie has established herself as a writer of enormous promise and with important stories to tell." --Bust
"Remarkable. Kambili's voice is sensitive and unassuming. It is also, by turns, funny, full of young and passionate longing, and crushingly sad. In addition to its lovely, spare writing and complex characters, [Purple Hibiscus] has a swift, seamless story line and makes politically tumultuous and intricately textured Nigeria completely accessible. [Adichie is] a budding star on the rise." --The Hartford Courant
"A sensitive and touching story of a child exposed too early to religious intolerance and the uglier side of the Nigerian state." --J. M. Coetzee
"Adichie writes with subtlety and cleanliness. Her hushed tone and economy of words invoke a wise calm, and the inclusion of animals, flowers and trees as characters suggests a connectedness with the Earth and its forces that gives the narrative a romance and African sensibility. Elegant turns of phrase thrive throughout the work, along with a thousand themes." --Black Issues Book Review
"A remarkably original debut, at once seductive, tender, and true. . . . Purple Hibiscus is the best debut I've read since Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things." --Jason Cowley, The Times (London) journalist and literary editor of New Statesman
"[A] wonderful debut. . . . Adichie skillfully blends the traditional story-as-parable approach with the more . . . introspective Western approach to novel writing. . . . Purple Hibiscus is more than entertainment. It is political satire and a call for change for a nation smothering under a lack of free speech." --San Antonio Express-News
"A novel of tragic beauty and exquisite tension. . . . A monumental literary achievement and a heartfelt prayer for Nigeria." --Jervey Tervalon, author of Dead Above Ground and Understand This
"Radiant. . . . It takes an incredible talent to write knowingly about adolescent turmoil, the cultural ties that bind generations and the demanding forces that shape our lives. Adichie . . . possesses this genius. . . . Kambili's story could be recreated anywhere, but not with the same intensity Adichie brings to this breathtaking novel." --The Sanford Herald (Sanford, North Carolina)
"A heartfelt novel that sheds dramatic light on the ugly truths of family violence. Adichie has wrested moments of pure beauty and grace out of the siblings' quiet rebellion." --Time Out New York
"Replete with beauty and horror, Adichie's novel of self-hatred, fear and family, with its political/allegorical overtones, is a moving, sometimes breathtaking debut." --Herald Sunday (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
"Vivid, authoritative, and true to the experiences of a teenage girl in contemporary middle-class Nigeria. Kambili's plainspoken narration adds texture to the novel. [Adichie is a] writer to watch." --Boston Phoenix
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