Thursday, March 16, 2006

Purple Hibiscus

Purple hibiscus

Every Sunday before lunch, in between telling Sisi to put a little more palm oil in soup, a little less curry in the coconut rice, and while Papa took his siesta, Mama plaited my hair. She would sit in an armchair near the kitchen door and I on the floor with my head cradled between her thighs. Although the kitchen was airy, with the windows always open, my hair would still manage to absorb the spices, and afterward, when I brought the end of a braid to my nose, I would smell egusi soup, utazi, curry.

Extract from Chapter 1, Purple Hibiscus

I read Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie a few weeks ago in three days flat, and was left in a state of entrancement and shock at the end. Told in the first person by a teenage girl growing up in Nigeria at the end of the 20th century, it is the story on the one hand of a young girl moving into adolescence and of a family torn apart by personal and cultural pressures; but equally it reflects the turbulence of political life in Nigeria at that time. It is an extraordinary first novel.

It broadened my horizons and touched me deeply. Have a look at the online reviews at the title link above - which include several by Nigerian readers - then read the book.


Blogger rdl said...

looks good, adding it to my list.

6:44 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

I think you'll enjoy it, rdl!

4:00 pm  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Thanks for this, Mary. I'm always looking for something amazing to read. This looks like the real thing.

3:44 am  
Blogger MB said...

Mary, this looks really interesting. And thank you again for that lovely bit of English summer you left.

5:02 am  
Blogger Mary said...

MB, Patry: I think you'll enjoy it too ...

I would love to have feedback if you do read it.

9:21 am  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Thanks for the recommendation - I can't wait to read it.

2:23 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Phlegmfatale (great name:-)!) thanks for you visit and kind words here and below. Hope you enjoy the book .....

9:34 am  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Thanks, glad you like my name. I bought the book Sunday afternoon, and finished it Monday afternoon. A beautifully sad, and yet inspiring read. Thanks for the recommendation. This book has such a definite sense of place that I could almost taste the dust in the air. The characters were lovingly drawn and complex, and I think this was a brilliant work. Again, thank you!

6:43 am  
Blogger Mary said...

PF: Really really appreciate your reporting back on the book. I am so pleased you liked it. It is good isn't it ....

10:13 am  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

It is beautiful and sad, and a marvelous book. I think this book illustrates a failing of western missionaries who couldn't spread their theological message without imbuing it with loathing for the indigenous culture of those they wished to "save."

In an odd coincidence, I met a woman from Nigeria today.

6:20 am  
Blogger Doomu Rewmi said...

See how sometimes it is just a good think to click on that "next blog" link in the nav bar.
So today, my luck is good: I discovered Mary's little perls of shared humamity, and a reference to a first novel I would have missed otherwise.
The book being in English will be hard to find in Dakar but I'll try.

Thanks Mary.

1:34 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Doomu: I am delighted you clicked on "Next Blog". Welcome, soyez le bienvenu!

Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment. I do hope you manage to find this book, and if you do I would love to have your opinion of it once you've read it.

9:30 pm  
Blogger qaminante said...

I really loved that book, glad to see someone else did too!

1:39 pm  

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