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Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Training Day 25, 26

20K and 18K. Had some pain below my right calf but okay. Now Reading Tim Noakes Lore of Running and Trevanian's Shibumi.
Just cleared Purple Hibiscus.
Purple Hibiscus is a story by the award-winning Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that centers around the life of a sixteen year old girl, Kambili, with a devout but abusive father and how the controlled, fearful and restrictive life she lived under her father smothered her growth and personality and how she finally broke free and found herself.
The book starts with Kambili's older brother, Jaja refusing to go for communion and in a fit of anger, her father breaks the religious figurines in their house. Jaja's rebellion actually marks the beginning of breaking of the "Gods." The "gods" are inflexible beliefs that were fostered upon Kambili's family, mostly religious, by her father and they were treated as more important than the family members themselves. The father enforced these ruled with violence that included scalding with hot water, crushing of fingers, slaps, blows and physical assault with objects.
Her mum became passively and unquestionably obedient to her father. Her brother was quietly challenging and matured into open rebellion when he approached the end of his teens. Kambili, the central character, totally got her ego knocked out and assumed her fathers perspective and lost her own. This story is about the slow and painstaking emergence of Kambili as a person, from behind the walls her father had brought her up behind.
The story is told is a progression from a restricted, fearful, muted life to a life of freedom, expression, laughter and colour which Kambili and her brother experience when they visit their Aunt Ifeoma. The purple hibiscus represents this colourful, free and different life that Kambili and her brother were denied by their father.The story ends tragically when their father, who is a famous, wealthy and respected publisher, dies after getting poisoned and the surprise is tucked at the end when Chimamamnda reveals who poisoned Kambili's father and how the family deals with the aftermath of his death.
This book is impressive in the simple manner in which it is told and how far-reaching the effects of the conflicts at play are and how powerful the characters experiences are portrayed. It is told in simple English, no rich metaphors or aphorisms. No poetry or artistic expressions. But beneath this simple presentation emerges a masterful storyteller who slowly and patiently crafts her work and confidently tightens the tension around the characters, deliberately building the conflict and not rushing to the end. And when the end comes, one is stirred by how powerful the story is, how it achieves such a deep level of introspection without being sophisticated and the tragedy of Kambili’s family and their freedom, however delayed and costly, is triumphant.

1 comment:

Holyriver said...

Very nice blog.
Best wishes from Italy.