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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Mar 13, 08

Read in January, 2008

I have been interested in Nigerian popular cinema (Nollywood) for some time, so when I came across this book, written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie it immediately caught my attention. All in all it did not disappoint. There is a certain dispassionate tone about the narration, and the dialogue seems stilted at times, but this is somehow appropriate and in character in the voice of Kambili the 15 year old girl who is the main protagonist and narrator of the story. Kambili's narrative traces an evolving and expanding worldview nestled amongst the almost palpable sounds, smells, and visual and political environment of Nigeria. For me, this was a welcome respite from the snow-covered Iowa landscape that I returned to. There also seems to be a certain Nigerian narrative structure both in this book and in Nigerian video films that I find quite appealing. While it can sometimes be a bit heavy on the moralistic or didactic side of things, there is something comforting in it. This comes across even in the lilting Nigerian speech patterns with their hint of mirth behind the saddest of stories. I could listen to these stories forever.
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