Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a 2003 O Henry Prize winner, and was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing and the 2004 Orange Prize. In Purple Hibiscus, she recounts the story of a young Nigerian girl searching for freedom. Although her father is greatly respected within their community, 15-year-old Kambili knows a frighteningly strict and abusive side to this man. In many ways, she and her family lead a privileged life, but Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are often punished for failing to meet their father’s expectations. After visiting her aunt and cousins, Kambili dreams of being part of a loving family. But a military coup brings new tension to Nigeria and her home, and Kambili wonders if her dreams will ever be fulfilled. Adichie’s striking and poetic language reveals a land and a family full of strife, but fighting to survive. A rich narration by South African native Lisette Lecat perfectly complements this inspiring tale.
©2003 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"One of the best novels to come out of Africa in years." (The Baltimore Sun)
“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)
"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)
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I liked Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun much better, but this book, once you get into it, is really good.
I love the fact that Igboland plays a prominent role in Adichie's stories. I'm from Tanzania, but Adichie makes me feel like I now know Nsukka and Enugu, though I've never been. It's refreshing to hear names and places that are historically accurate, and not generic. The story does an excellent job of telling a story, the foundations of which could be found in any culture, and making it a distinctly African story. Great job!
There were definitely times when her South African accent came through or when her pronunciation of certain Igbo words were a bit off, but it won't be noticeable to most listeners.
I listened to it on a cross-country road trip, so, yes.
"A good book, a bit too dramatized"
The narrator was awesome, not only reading but using various techniques like voice modulation, pause, tone changes to add more value to the story. The story was very much focused on the dramatic side of the family's experiences, but all in all this is part of life.
This story transported me to west Africa. It is an incredible story about complicated family relationships, politics and religion. I love to the audio version particularly for the pronunciation of the Igbo words and phrases that are sprinkled throughout the book.
"Could improve sound quality"
The book is very impressive, I could not stop listening until I finished. Still out of words... The only thing I did not like was sound quality. The narrator was good, great dramatic reading, but in the recording we can often hear her swallow (which can be annoying), as well as people coughing on the background.
"A father demanding to win at all costs"
I found it hard to get going in the first chapters, but the story eventually grabbed me and at some point brought me to tears. Unlike a father lacking creativity of influencing his children to do better, it was refreshing to see a woman headed home thriving in difficult conditions, whilst she filled her home with love, she made her children raise the bar not out of fear but because the knew they have it within them to rise above, she natured their varying talents and promoted self expression though with limited resources. A story of parallels of religion, hypocrisy and love, poverty and abundance, a brief history lesson on Nigeria's political culture.
I think because i have also read There was a country by Chinua Achebe, which to a certain extent complements the historical references to Nsuka, i found myself relating to Purple Hibiscus especially around the government, school leaders and activists, in Nsuka, as well as the Igbo people.
There are great books i haven't finished because of poor performance, she may have made rare mistakes in places but she performed very well such that i could identify characters just based on her voice delivery.
"Fanatical Catholic father = troubling behavior"
While I adore Adichie's prose and am fascinated by the glimpse into Nigerian culture, I found the character of the father so polarized in his public vs. private behavior and his horrific treatment of his family hard to believe and hard to take.
As to the recording, the narrator's breathing was often so clearly heard as to be distracting. I loved her performance and attribute this to poor production technique.
"Great story, bad narrator"
I love all of Chimamanda's stories they are so wonderfully written and tell beautiful stories, but I hate the way she voices these books. I prefer Adjoa Andoh, she's always spectacular!
I could tell when she was taking breathes, her mouth made a noise like it was wet, and she didn't voice the characters very well.
I really can't finish this book right now. I'm going to read something else first because it's really annoying to listen too although I enjoy the story.
"powerful story of love, sacrifice & family"
After loving "Americanah" as our community read in Arlington, MA, I rushed to keep the feeling going with this earlier book by Adichie. What a cornucopia of emotion and human experience, adroitly crafted into a compelling tale you won't be able to put down.
I loved the book and the performance of it. I think the author is brilliant.
Loved the complexity of the relationships in the story. Not a fan of the narration.
A story about violence told with delicate strokes- a daughter caught in between her devotion for her father, a pious man 'who thinks he is God', and her desire to enjoy life. The pace of the narration is a little slow compared to other audio books but it suits this novel well. A very pleasant listen.
We absolutely loved it. All my kids too 12, 10 and 8 year olds girls
Third book from author; drawn to it as I thought it'd be narrated by Adjoa whose narrartion I love, but wasn't too disappointed. Liked how she not only showcased the fanatical Eugene's way of practising his religion, but also his sister's tolerant way even though both are Catholics.
Liked the fact that Ifeoma found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side after moving to America, which is usually the case.
Felt very sorry for his kids and was oftentimes moved to tears at what they had to go through in his hands.
Didn't quite like how it ended though.
"Loved this book"
This is an excellent read. Some complex characters, and a compelling coming-of-age drama played out against an all-too-real background in Nigerian history. Very well narrated.
Intriguing emotional justified
Listen to this book on audible. I like the way the book was written, the story line was great detailing what exactly happened in a country foreign to me therfore I was able to picture it well. I felt angry a lot of the times and ashamed to say I loved the ending! Cant wait to read Adichie's other books.
The one thing I did not like was an English accent reading a Nigerian book. It took me a long while to get my head around it. She did well in trying to pronounce the words but I would have like to hear the author herself or similar read the book.
The fact that a book set in Nigeria is narrated by someone who sounds like they went to Cheltenham Ladies' College really ruined it for me. Could they not find a Nigerian narrator?
Truly terrible choice (she could barely pronounce the names and places)
Source: My Dads Nigerian
"Great story but ends rather abruptly!"
I wish she made more effort to learn how to pronounce the Igbo words.
Americanah is still her best book.
"Predictable story poorly narrated!"
No, because of Lisette Lecat's performance. Her narrating was so slow and stilted. The listener can hear her every swallow, sniff and at one point someone coughing in the background! Lisette Lecat's reading spoilt this audiobook.
Don't use Lisette Lecat.
"Not for the fainthearted or sensitive"
The story is written in the first person from the point of view of an emotionally damaged adolescent black Nigerian girl in an extremely Catholic and rich family. As all of these things are totally alien to me, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this very much (I have it because it was obligatory reading for my son at school). However, it was all rather gripping, albeit as far removed from my own life experience as Harry Potter. The details of life in Nigeria rang true, but I suppose what struck me most was the contrast between the gentle writing style and the ambient violence. Although there are no direct descriptions of graphic violence, some of the events are genuinely disquieting. This is not a book I will forget quickly.
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