Day 18: Purple Hibiscus

Across the first month of 2020, Sophie Baggott is sharing her thirty favourite books by women from across the world. Find out more about her project to read women writers from every country worldwide here.

I read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in April 2018 and found it an incredible novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, family, and freedom.

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a nutshell: 15yo Kambili lets us peek into her household, where the deep-rooted reign of her tyrant father – a fanatical Catholic – is starting to show signs of decay

a line: “Perhaps we will talk more with time, or perhaps we never will be able to say it all, to clothe things in words, things that have long been naked”

an image: Kambili’s father’s renouncement of his own father (Papa-Nnukwu) since the old man holds onto ancestors’ faith means Kambili & her brother are permitted just one very fleeting, futile meeting annually with their poverty-stricken grandfather, which makes for a moving scene in his ramshackle yard

a thought: for me the novel flagged up how a sense of fear and worship meshes in such an inextricable way – both within a family unit and within the religious sphere

a fact: Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka as the fifth of six children in an Igbo family whose ancestral village was Aba – these towns are at the centre of her debut

want to read Purple Hibiscus? visit here

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