There are quite a number of writers in Africa, and since many people with African roots are curious about what life is like here, I suggest African literature as a remedy. So in this series, which comprises 8 awesome and detailed articles, we will consider some of the novels and (once in a while) literature by African writers. Hopefully they all prove to be to your taste. At least I can be sure that at least one of them will be to your taste.
In the first article, we will consider a book West Africa. Let us begin with a book that has haunted me ever since I first read it. And when I say haunted, I mean it in a good way. I decided to begin with a novel whose writer a number of people have heard of, I think: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Familiar name, isn’t it? Well, are you a Beyoncé fan? Then I think you know where you heard that name. She featured in Beyoncé’s song Flawless, and has written a number of books that have attracted not a little attention.
Barnes and noble: 4.4/5
Google books: 4/5
The setting for this book is Nigeria. As her first novel (it was published in 2003) it is a very touching story of oppression told by Kambili, a self-effacing and dutiful daughter who happens to be a member of a joyless family (so joyless, in fact, that she only finds out that her brother has dimples later in the book). The culprit of this is her father, Eugene who happens to be a tyrant and a religious fanatic at home (one example of this is when Kambili says she fears her father will slap her with the casualness of reaching for a pepper shaker) and a public favorite – he is even known as “Omelora”, meaning “The One Who Does For The Community”.
Kambili and her brother start to notice how different life is outside their compound when they visit their Aunt Ifeoma, and then they begin to question things they had never thought of twice
From that description one can be led to conclude that it is a very sad story. How wrong to do so! Many novels that are written along such lines tend to hit you in the face with violence and oppression. Purple Hibiscus on the other hand is more subtle, more delicate about it.
I also find the pacing fantastic and the plot realistic. As a novel based in Nigeria, a reader expects some things they have not heard of since one has not been there, and that is so with this book. You will find references to foods and terms native to Nigeria – so it does provide the exotic experience, though it is overridden by the plot of the novel.
If you find you like this novel, it is not the only one written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half Of a Yellow Sun (already in motion picture) and Americana are two of her more popular books. And if you are interested in reading more books from West Africa, try out the Goodreads website – it has a number of lists that will give you what you want. In fact, here is a link to one of them:
AFRICAN NOVELS REVIEWS