Paperback eBook


ISBN: 978-1-61620-241-5

LIST PRICE: $14.95


ISBN: 978-1-61620-242-2

LIST PRICE: $14.95

Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They’re completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear.

Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.


“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

“[Her] strong, lyrical voice earns her a place on the shelf squarely next to Gabriel García Márquez, Alex Haley, and Chinua Achebe.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Splendid.” Vanity Fair

“Amazing.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother, Jaja, live a regal life in impoverished Nigeria. Their father is a very powerful man who owns many factories, lavishes money on his church and the local schools, and publishes a newspaper that is outspokenly critical of the country's repressive regime. But their marble palace often feels like a prison because the children are terrified of their father's temper; at home, he is a religious tyrant who exerts a fanatical control over their schedules and often beats their mother. They are overjoyed when their father unexpectedly allows them to visit his sister, Ifeoma, whose three children are quick to laugh, engage in vehement discussions, and pitch in to help the family cope with food and petrol shortages. Kambili, who is almost rendered mute in the presence of her boisterous cousins, slowly starts to open up. This impressive first novel is redolent in its depiction of the Nigerian countryside and generates a palpable narrative tension over what's to become of Kambili and Jaja's newfound sense of freedom." Joanne Wilkinson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved 

"Adult/High School-Kambili, 15, and her older brother, Jaja, live under a brutal dictatorship in their native Nigeria and also in their home. Their father beats them and their mother for the slightest perceived offense. Papa is also a fanatic Christian who gives freely of his immense wealth and is admired by all. The children's world changes when they are allowed to visit their Aunty Ifeoma, who teaches in a university town nearby and lives a relaxed life on little money. Her children talk back, have messy rooms, and help cook wonderful food. And their beloved grandfather, Papa-Nnukwu, favors the old gods. Kambili meets Father Amadi, a liberal priest, and falls in love with him. Upon Nnukwu's death, Papa arrives to take them home, but Jaja now questions his authority, and when Papa finds Kambili with a picture of her heathen grandfather, he kicks and beats her so severely that she is hospitalized. Mama poisons Papa's food, but Jaja confesses to the murder and is imprisoned. The Nigerian government falls; Aunty Ifeoma loses her job and leaves with her children for America; and Father Amadi leaves for his next assignment. Yet there is hope that after three years in prison, Jaja will be released, and Mama finally smiles. Aunty Ifeoma and their cousins have brought joy and laughter to Kambili and Jaja, and that cannot be taken away. This is a harsh story, almost unbearable at first, but beautifully written."-Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA

"One of the best novels to come out of Africa in years."--The Baltimore Sun

"A breathtaking debut. . .[Adichie] is very much the 21st-century daughter of that other great Igbo novelist, Chinua Achebe." - The Washington Post Book World

"The author's straightforward prose captures the tragic riddle of a man who has made an unquestionably positive contribution to the lives of strangers while abandoning the needs of those who are closest to him." - The New York Times Book Review

"At once the portrait of a country and a family, of terrible choices and the tremulous pleasure of an odd, rare purple hibiscus blooming amid a conforming sea of red ones"--San Francisco Chronicle

"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

"Adichie renders this coming-of-age story beautifully. Every character has dimension; every description resonates like cello music. . . . [Her] strong, lyrical voice earns her a place on the shelf squarely next to Gabriel Garc'a M‡rquez and Alex Haley and Chinua Achebe." --San Diego Union-Tribune

"A fiction writer's job is to create a world so detailed, evocative and emotionally true that, like Alice, you fall into it. Adichie does exactly that, placing among the frangipani trees and bougainvillea of her native country a family demoralized and degraded by a father's cruelty. Amazing." --The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[A] splendid debut." --Vanity Fair

"Stunning. . . .With Purple Hibiscus, Adichie has established herself as a writer of enormous promise and with important stories to tell." --Bust

"Remarkable. Kambili's voice is sensitive and unassuming. It is also, by turns, funny, full of young and passionate longing, and crushingly sad. In addition to its lovely, spare writing and complex characters, [Purple Hibiscus] has a swift, seamless story line and makes politically tumultuous and intricately textured Nigeria completely accessible. [Adichie is] a budding star on the rise." --The Hartford Courant

"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

"Adichie writes with subtlety and cleanliness. Her hushed tone and economy of words invoke a wise calm, and the inclusion of animals, flowers and trees as characters suggests a connectedness with the Earth and its forces that gives the narrative a romance and African sensibility. Elegant turns of phrase thrive throughout the work, along with a thousand themes." --Black Issues Book Review

"A remarkably original debut, at once seductive, tender, and true. . . . Purple Hibiscus is the best debut I've read since Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things." --Jason Cowley, TheTimes (London) journalist and literary editor of New Statesman

"[A] wonderful debut. . . . Adichie skillfully blends the traditional story-as-parable approach with the more . . . introspective Western approach to novel writing. . . . Purple Hibiscus is more than entertainment. It is political satire and a call for change for a nation smothering under a lack of free speech." --San Antonio Express-News

"A novel of tragic beauty and exquisite tension. . . . A monumental literary achievement and a heartfelt prayer for Nigeria." --Jervey Tervalon, author of Dead Above Ground and Understand This

"Radiant. . . . It takes an incredible talent to write knowingly about adolescent turmoil, the cultural ties that bind generations and the demanding forces that shape our lives. Adichie . . . possesses this genius. . . . Kambili's story could be recreated anywhere, but not with the same intensity Adichie brings to this breathtaking novel." --The Sanford Herald (Sanford, North Carolina)

"A heartfelt novel that sheds dramatic light on the ugly truths of family violence. Adichie has wrested moments of pure beauty and grace out of the siblings' quiet rebellion." --Time Out New York

"Replete with beauty and horror, Adichie's novel of self-hatred, fear and family, with its political/allegorical overtones, is a moving, sometimes breathtaking debut." --Herald Sunday(Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

"Vivid, authoritative, and true to the experiences of a teenage girl in contemporary middle-class Nigeria. Kambili's plainspoken narration adds texture to the novel. [Adichie is a] writer to watch." --Boston Phoenix --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Meet the Author

adichie_chimamanda_ngozi Photo Credit: Nnamdi Chiamogu

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into thirty languages. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, published by Algonquin in 2003, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her novel Half of a Yellow Sun won the Orange Broadband Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent novel is Americanah. Her story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck, was the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.