Purple Hibiscus

Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,215 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a 2003 O Henry Prize winner, and was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing and the 2004 Orange Prize. In Purple Hibiscus, she recounts the story of a young Nigerian girl searching for freedom. Although her father is greatly respected within their community, 15-year-old Kambili knows a frighteningly strict and abusive side to this man. In many ways, she and her family lead a privileged life, but Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are often punished for failing to meet their father’s expectations. After visiting her aunt and cousins, Kambili dreams of being part of a loving family. But a military coup brings new tension to Nigeria and her home, and Kambili wonders if her dreams will ever be fulfilled. Adichie’s striking and poetic language reveals a land and a family full of strife, but fighting to survive. A rich narration by South African native Lisette Lecat perfectly complements this inspiring tale.

©2003 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Could improve sound quality

The book is very impressive, I could not stop listening until I finished. Still out of words... The only thing I did not like was sound quality. The narrator was good, great dramatic reading, but in the recording we can often hear her swallow (which can be annoying), as well as people coughing on the background.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Story

Where does Purple Hibiscus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I liked Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun much better, but this book, once you get into it, is really good.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the fact that Igboland plays a prominent role in Adichie's stories. I'm from Tanzania, but Adichie makes me feel like I now know Nsukka and Enugu, though I've never been. It's refreshing to hear names and places that are historically accurate, and not generic. The story does an excellent job of telling a story, the foundations of which could be found in any culture, and making it a distinctly African story. Great job!

Did Lisette Lecat do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

There were definitely times when her South African accent came through or when her pronunciation of certain Igbo words were a bit off, but it won't be noticeable to most listeners.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it on a cross-country road trip, so, yes.

16 people found this helpful

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A good book, a bit too dramatized

The narrator was awesome, not only reading but using various techniques like voice modulation, pause, tone changes to add more value to the story. The story was very much focused on the dramatic side of the family's experiences, but all in all this is part of life.

6 people found this helpful

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Great story, bad narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I love all of Chimamanda's stories they are so wonderfully written and tell beautiful stories, but I hate the way she voices these books. I prefer Adjoa Andoh, she's always spectacular!

What didn’t you like about Lisette Lecat’s performance?

I could tell when she was taking breathes, her mouth made a noise like it was wet, and she didn't voice the characters very well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

I really can't finish this book right now. I'm going to read something else first because it's really annoying to listen too although I enjoy the story.

5 people found this helpful

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A father demanding to win at all costs

Where does Purple Hibiscus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I found it hard to get going in the first chapters, but the story eventually grabbed me and at some point brought me to tears. Unlike a father lacking creativity of influencing his children to do better, it was refreshing to see a woman headed home thriving in difficult conditions, whilst she filled her home with love, she made her children raise the bar not out of fear but because the knew they have it within them to rise above, she natured their varying talents and promoted self expression though with limited resources. A story of parallels of religion, hypocrisy and love, poverty and abundance, a brief history lesson on Nigeria's political culture.

What other book might you compare Purple Hibiscus to and why?

I think because i have also read There was a country by Chinua Achebe, which to a certain extent complements the historical references to Nsuka, i found myself relating to Purple Hibiscus especially around the government, school leaders and activists, in Nsuka, as well as the Igbo people.

What does Lisette Lecat bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

There are great books i haven't finished because of poor performance, she may have made rare mistakes in places but she performed very well such that i could identify characters just based on her voice delivery.

3 people found this helpful

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Distressing and Beautiful

Lissette LeCat is one of my favorite readers, and she does full justice to this early novel by Adichie about the terrorized family of a democratic activist and industrialist in Nigeria. LeCat is the reader of all the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" novels, and it's because of her narration that I love them all. "Purple Hibiscus" is a much sadder and alarming story, set during one of the many military coups that disrupted Nigeria's 20th century post-Colonial efforts to steer its own course. LeCat brings a measured, respectful narrative voice to stories that involve and belong to entirely African characters. I can't endure narrators who act out their characters as if they were on stage, so I appreciate this, as I appreciate many British narrators but very few American ones. The family's terror comes at the hands of the father, the pro-democracy activist, who is a fanatical Catholic convert subject to psychotic rages when his wife or children fail to follow his strict orders about how to behave, 24/7. As the family is pushed to the breaking point, the tension in Adichie's story draws you irresistibly on to the conclusion. LeCat is good at pronouncing Igbo names and common expressions.

2 people found this helpful

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powerful story of love, sacrifice & family

After loving "Americanah" as our community read in Arlington, MA, I rushed to keep the feeling going with this earlier book by Adichie. What a cornucopia of emotion and human experience, adroitly crafted into a compelling tale you won't be able to put down.

2 people found this helpful

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Worth it

I loved the book and the performance of it. I think the author is brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing story!

This story transported me to west Africa. It is an incredible story about complicated family relationships, politics and religion. I love to the audio version particularly for the pronunciation of the Igbo words and phrases that are sprinkled throughout the book.

5 people found this helpful

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Fanatical Catholic father = troubling behavior

While I adore Adichie's prose and am fascinated by the glimpse into Nigerian culture, I found the character of the father so polarized in his public vs. private behavior and his horrific treatment of his family hard to believe and hard to take.
As to the recording, the narrator's breathing was often so clearly heard as to be distracting. I loved her performance and attribute this to poor production technique.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amber M
  • 06-25-17

The story is fantastic. The narrator made me want to claw my ears off

Adichie is a fantastic writer and is the only reason why I finished this audiobook. The narrator seemed to struggle with pronunciation. The mic picked up every background noise and the narrator seemed to have a lot of saliva? It might not bother others but if you have a sensitivity to mouth noises etc seriously don't listen to this audiobook it was maddening.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SDY
  • 02-24-13

Beautiful

A story about violence told with delicate strokes- a daughter caught in between her devotion for her father, a pious man 'who thinks he is God', and her desire to enjoy life. The pace of the narration is a little slow compared to other audio books but it suits this novel well. A very pleasant listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ayobinolol
  • 08-13-16

Great story but ends rather abruptly!

I wish she made more effort to learn how to pronounce the Igbo words.
Americanah is still her best book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stylo
  • 02-22-16

Predictable story poorly narrated!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No, because of Lisette Lecat's performance. Her narrating was so slow and stilted. The listener can hear her every swallow, sniff and at one point someone coughing in the background! Lisette Lecat's reading spoilt this audiobook.

How could the performance have been better?

Don't use Lisette Lecat.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wuraola
  • 10-10-15

Loved it

We absolutely loved it. All my kids too 12, 10 and 8 year olds girls

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ini75
  • 08-24-15

Captivating story

Third book from author; drawn to it as I thought it'd be narrated by Adjoa whose narrartion I love, but wasn't too disappointed. Liked how she not only showcased the fanatical Eugene's way of practising his religion, but also his sister's tolerant way even though both are Catholics.

Liked the fact that Ifeoma found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side after moving to America, which is usually the case.

Felt very sorry for his kids and was oftentimes moved to tears at what they had to go through in his hands.

Didn't quite like how it ended though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • V. Mpala
  • 08-20-13

Great story

If you could sum up Purple Hibiscus in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing emotional justified
Listen to this book on audible. I like the way the book was written, the story line was great detailing what exactly happened in a country foreign to me therfore I was able to picture it well. I felt angry a lot of the times and ashamed to say I loved the ending! Cant wait to read Adichie's other books.

Any additional comments?

The one thing I did not like was an English accent reading a Nigerian book. It took me a long while to get my head around it. She did well in trying to pronounce the words but I would have like to hear the author herself or similar read the book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicholas
  • 12-23-12

Loved this book

This is an excellent read. Some complex characters, and a compelling coming-of-age drama played out against an all-too-real background in Nigerian history. Very well narrated.

3 people found this helpful

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  • PapaDelta
  • 01-28-20

Remarkable debut. Good narration...

Picked by our bookclub as this month's read, my initial reservations gradually disappeared as the reality of Kambili's life emerged. For this, I thank the narrator, whose measured tones steadily delivered the unfolding desperate, agonising repression and control of the children by their father. I see elsewhere that the narrator has been criticised for inaccuracies in the pronunciation of Igbo words. Being unfamiliar with the language, this wasn't an issue for me (even if true). Rather, the flow and musicality of the igbo words added an extra dimension, along with the evocative descriptions of landscape and people.

This is one of those books where I was grateful for the narration (which means you hear or register every word), whereas I suspect that the measured pace of the early chapters would have tempted me to skip quite a bit...

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  • Malwina Tritt
  • 10-18-19

Another beautiful story with a horrible narration

I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, she is a revelation to me. She is the only one who k ows how to write about women. This is my third book written by her and again, she did not fail to deliver. A beautiful story. But what is the name od god is going on with that lector??? She is sapping the life out of the story and out of the listener! And those long pauses where you can hear her smacking her lips and tongue! The audiobook would have been unbearable to listen to if not the story...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-20

i love it

It's so captivating .You feel like you too Have lived through their lives....such pain such perseverance

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-15-18

so captivating

finished it in one weekend. couldn't let go. Adichie, can describe things to the minutest details.

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  • sue
  • 07-15-17

Compelling

What made the experience of listening to Purple Hibiscus the most enjoyable?

A horrible story made possible to continue with because of the beautiful prose. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is remarkable. Lisette Lecat read this beautifully

What about Lisette Lecat’s performance did you like?

Her tone