Chimananda Ngozi Adichie.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Authors: Naughton, Aubrey
Redstone, Natalie
Pub Date: 06/01/2008
Publication: Name: Sister Namibia Publisher: Sister Namibia Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Sister Namibia ISSN: 1026-9126
Issue: Date: June, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Purple Hibiscus (Book); Half of a Yellow Sun (Book)
Persons: Reviewee: Adichie, Chimananda Ngozi
Accession Number: 184550009
Full Text: Acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimananda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1977 in Nigeria and raised in the town of Nsukka. At 18 she moved to the United States and went on to complete her MA in Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins University. She gained recognition as a writer with the publication of various short stories, but her breakthrough came with her first novel Purple Hibiscus, for which she received the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She was awarded the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007 for her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.

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Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus recounts the moving story of Kambili, a 15-year-old girl growing up amidst the chaos of a turbulent political environment and her fearful home life with her violently religious father and subservient mother. Kambili and her brother Jaja, though terrified of his patriarchal rule, still revere their father's approval and have come to know only his structured and militant way of parenting. But things begin to change when the government is overthrown by a coup and Kambili and Jaja go to stay with their Aunty Ifeoma in a neighbouring town; they are deposited into a world they can barely recognise, with their Papa - Nnukwu who practises traditional ceremonies and their aunt and cousins whose lives overflow with joy and loud laughter. Kambili watches as Jaja matures almost instantly in this new environment, his shoulders broadening as he works in Aunty's garden. And, after time, Kambili learns her capacity for smiles, conversations and laughter, as her friendships grow with her cousin Amaka and the charming Father Amadi. As Kambili and Jaja adapt to this new and joyful existence, they begin to realise the terrifying impact their father's violence and control has had on their lives. Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful coming-of-age story that explores the exhilaration and freedom that accompanies growing up but also the fear in recognising that your past will always be a part of who you are.

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Half of a Yellow Sun

Set in the context of the brutal 1967 Nigerian civil war, Half of a Yellow Sun delicately weaves together the stories of three very different, yet intertwined characters. Thirteen year old Ugwu, a poor houseboy from a remote Nigerian village, is forced to fight and survive in the Biafran army. Beautiful and rebellious Olanna has forsaken her life of privilege to live with her lover Odenigbo, a charismatic revolutionary and fiercely anti-colonialist professor. And Richard, a shy and self-conscious Englishman studying traditional Igbo-Ukwu art is enchanted by Olanna's enigmatic twin sister.

As the war engulfs them, these characters are pulled apart and thrown together in ways they never imagined, testing their loyalties and challenging every notion of who they thought they once were. Harrowing, absorbing and profoundly real, this beautifully written novel explores the impacts of the Biafran war on the wealthy and poor, educated and peasant alike. It intricately captures the growth, change and maturity of each character as they struggle to deal with their rapidly changing lives. Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realised, Half of a Yellow Sum is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race - and the ways in which love can complicate them all.

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Visit the Sister Namibia Resource Centre!

Our Resource Centre houses a large collection of books, research studies, policy documents, videos and training manuals on women's rights as well as gender and development issues - with a specific focus on women's political leadership, health, HIV and Aids, sexuality and sexual rights. We also have a collection of novels and poetry by African women writers, and literature by and for lesbian women.

Call us at Tel 230618 or 230757 to make an appointment for your visit.

Introduced by Aubrey Naughton and Natalie Redstone
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.