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Purple Hibiscus Hardcover – 1 Mar 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition, First Printing edition (1 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007176112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007176113
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel 'Purple Hibiscus' was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review. She won a MacArthur 'genius' grant in 2009, and in 2010 appeared on the New Yorker's list of the best 20 writers under 40.

Product Description

Review

'A beautiful and often harrowing story.' Observer Books of the Year

‘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

‘Political brutality and domestic violence, religion and witchcraft all merge with subtle force in this memorable novel. Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie uses childhood innocence to write Nigerian history with the eye of a family insider.’ Hugo Hamilton

‘“Purple Hibiscus” is the best debut I've read since Arundhati Roy's “The God of Small Things”.’ Jason Cowley, Literary Editor of the New Statesman

‘This debut ensnares the reader from the first page and lingers in the memory…in 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.’ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. Her first novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ was published in 2003 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her second novel ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her short story collection, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, was published to critical acclaim in 2009. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review. She won a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant in 2009, and in 2010 appeared on the New Yorker’s list of the best 20 writers under 40. Her third novel, ‘Americanah’, was published to widespread critical acclaim in 2013. She lives in Nigeria.


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First Sentence
Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the etagere. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 78 people found the following review helpful By sunnylanes VINE VOICE on 13 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up intending to read a few pages in just to see what I thought and actually hardly put it down again until I had finished it.
It is a fantastic insight into life in Nigeria in unsettled political times with the overarching conflict of the Catholic religion versus indigenous faiths almost subsuming everything else.
Kambili and Jaja's father is a prosperous and generous Catholic businessman respected and revered in the wider community for his support of charities yet behind closed doors he is a despotic, controlling and ultimately extremely violent man.
Helpless and seemingly powerless, the family can do nothing but tolerate Papa's violence which despite it's brutality still does nothing to affect their love for him until finally and very unexpectedly the power does shift.Adichie creates the family who have everything yet have nothing and then contrasts them powerfully with another branch of the family who seemingly have nothing yet have it all and it works.
She delineates fear superbly;the reader really feels and lives what this family are going through.There is a wonderful intermingling of local dialect within the narrative that grounds this book very firmly in Nigeria and much of the beauty and hardship of the country is clearly described in a flowing and atmospheric style.
Despite the stomach-churning physical abuse that almost moves you to tears for many reasons ,I found this an ultimately very satisfying read.
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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 16 May 2006
Format: Paperback
Read by our bookclub, this book produced enthusiastic reviews.

Teenage Kambili tells her story. Gradually we begin to see the cracks in a family that outwardly appears prosperous and loving. The children are painfully subserviant, less than first place in school provokes serious repercussions. The mother has repeated miscarriages while the father is the village philanthropist.

After a visit to her Aunt Ifeoma and her three cousins, Kambili starts to see things as they really are; the life she thought normal starts to become frightening.

The threatening thing about the situation is the power of the church and the Catholic religion, used as an excuse to inflict terrible punishment for percieved misdemeanors. Also the power of other people's opinions and maintaining a position within the village.

It's a book that you won't want to put down, but some passages are quite distressing.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
I walked into Waterstones to buy (nigerian) Helen Oyeyemis book 'Icarus Girl' and saw this. I had no idea what it was about when I bought it - but am I glad I did!
Ngozi Adichie wrote this when she was 'longing for home'. She was experiencing a cold harsh winter in America where she gazed outside her window and saw nothing but a blanket of snow. Living as a Nigerian in the UK, I indentify with that feeling, with 'longing for home'. Reading this book felt like going home.
The story is about Kambili, an ibo teenager in eastern nigeria and is set against the backdrop of century-long nigerian 'issues' - religion (catholicism v indigenous traditions), politics (military dictatorships and a sycophantic society vs truth, freedom and democracy), child abuse, teenage experiences, family, wealth, lack, love and loyalty. It'll take you back, make you squirm, make you cry if like me, you've experienced some of these issues.
if you havent, by reading it, you'll get a much clearer exposition of modern day nigeria and africa than any 'bbc tv documentary' will ever show you.
read this!
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By "katharinerobinson" on 6 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I can't remember the last time I read a book and could not put it down. The characters are absorbing, the story harrowing and unpredictable. The portrait of Nigeria is so detailed and accurate yet challenging in the way it celebrates both its good and bad parts. The descriptions of abuse are difficult to read but add to story's impact in the correct way; they are added not to make the story appealing but real in a way that is difficult to describe. A truly excellent book that wasn't what I expected at all.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sitizi on 16 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful story. The plot is based on a 14 year-old who grew up under the stifling patronage of a stern father. Her domineering father frequently physically abused his family alongside her, creating terror at home and stunting the psychological growth of his children. Against the backdrop of the deterioration of the socio-economic and political life of Nigeria as it undergoes a military coup, the life Kambili knows is shattered and she has to seek for refuge in the home of her aunt. Kambili the sheltered but highly restricted child, who never thought of herself as lucky and who had earlier been absconded by her peers and cousin because of her supposedly privileges, learns to assert herself and becomes a beloved character, a character who easily understood the plight of those around her.. Kambili at first came to terms with her father as someone who regarded himself as a pillar of the community and someone she genuinely loved. Even the emotional and physical pains he inflicted are seen only as a gesture of love for her own good, but later she comes to consider his actions as abnormal. With its vivid portrayal of Nigerian life, and brilliant dissection of the characters , this novel moves at a pace which is electrifying.Also recommended:HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,that I enjoyed this summer.
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