Thursday, July 27, 2017 0 Comments

#BookReview: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie





Purple Hibiscus or rather Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was on my TBR list for a long time. I heard a lot about the author and this book, so I finally ordered this book. It took me some time to finish this this book because I am not that old Tarang (there are so many other engagements/responsibilities that turned me into a relatively slow reader) who could finish a book in a few hours. Plus, I wanted it to go slow. 


Purple Hibiscus tells the story of fifteen-year-old, timid Kambili who lives under the shadow of her wealthy, over-religious and violent father. Kambili, her helpless mother and her brother Jaja are forced to live an entertainment-proof life within the confines of high walls around their house and 'to-be-followed-strictly' routine.


Kambili yearns for her father's 'conditional' love and makes efforts to please him.


'I wished I had said that.' She often thinks when her brother says something thoughtful that makes her father smile.

Her only companion is Jaja. "We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know.”

When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and her brother get a chance to stay away from their authoritarian father and live with their fearless and lively aunt, Ifeoma,  a University professor in Nsukka. Though financially weak, aunt Ifeoma’s house if full of life and laughter. In her aunt’s home, Kambili understands the true meaning of life, love, freedom and togetherness.

“It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn't.” 

But, how long can she live in her aunt’s house? How her (and Jaja’s) life is going to change? Read Purple Hibiscus to know the story of Kambili’s life.

I like fast paced stories, and Purple Hibiscus is a little slow in the first half, still I did not find it boring because of author’s soothing writing style. I instantly developed a fondness for her writing. It's so beautiful and authentic. It creates vivid imagery. The characters are very well defined. I personally liked the character of aunt Ifeoma, her daughter, Amaka and Father Amadi, a young priest.

There's a reason for every situation and character's behaviour. For instance, Kambili is so timid and silent that sometimes I felt she was not present in the story as a character (however, her fears and anguish are well expressed) but was a mere narrator. But, there is a strong reason of her odd behavior.

For me, Purple Hibiscus is a memorable book, a book that stays with you for some time. I loved Adichie's writing. Just one thing bothered me - there are so many Nigerian words (without glossary). It did not affect the gist of the story but it disrupted the flow of reading because these words are so frequent that I felt compelled to google search them to get the meaning. 

I'd recommend this book to everyone who loves intense stories and meaningful writing. Even if you enjoy light, fast-faced stories, I'd suggest you to read this one. I am looking forward to reading Chimamanda Adichie's next book, Half of a Yellow Sun. 






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Thursday, July 20, 2017 4 Comments

Show, Don’t Tell – do you follow this rule?




Show, Don’t Tell – this is one of the most common writing advices we often hear. However, you might have read some articles that say, ‘Show, Don’t Tell can be a terrible writing advice.’

Well, showing 'too much' can be a little annoying if not handled well, especially if the writer is not experienced. The new writer may become over-enthusiastic and write in an over-descriptive manner. It may tempt the writer to use too many unnecessary dialogues, in order to erm…‘show’. So, it’s very important to keep the balance.

I understand, as a writer and a reader, the beauty and importance of crisp narration, still I strongly advocate the concept of  – ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ for certain reasons –

It makes the writing authentic – as a writer, when you apply this rule, you use your observations. Things you notice happening around. Like the setting of a room or if the neighbour is watering plants in the her garden etc.

The way people speak. Their facial expressions, body-language and activities when they speak. Like someone tucks her curls while speaking. Or if someone is arranging clothes or fiddling with her mobile (or any other activities) when talking. 

These things are very important for authentic writing.

It creates vivid imagery. Let’s take this example –

Telling – I look out of the window. The weather is mesmerizing.

Showing – A gush of cool breeze caresses my face. I smooth out my curls as I watch colourful blooms flutter playfully. Champa tree, so close to my window that I can touch it if I try, effuses heavenly fragrance. Water droplets, hanging off the leaves, glint like diamond nose pins as sunshine kisses them. 

Get it? Descriptive but it creates nice imagery, no? Writing/narration seems more interesting if it creates vivid imagery.

It helps the story move more smoothly. If you tell everything, you become the narrator; your voice may sound similar. Every character of your story sounds like you, the narrator. And, if it happens, the writing seems dull and tiring, and it may disrupt the flow of the story.


So, these are my reasons. What's yours? What type of writer or reader you are? Do you follow this rule? Please share your views?









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Saturday, July 8, 2017 5 Comments

Rain And Memories









The house is breathing silence, reflecting solitude. Sitting on the wide window sill, with a mug of coffee, she watches the weather transforming dramatically. It looks like a shadow of an enormous bird who has started to spread its wing.

The dusk is about to fall. People have started to emerge, gathering in different groups. Even birds have claimed their favourite spot. They sit on a distant power line as if getting ready for an assembly. She likes to watch them, everything out of her window, but never wants to go out. She can stay at home for months without stepping for weeks.

She sips her coffee, feeling calm as cool breeze caresses her. Suddenly, lightning flashes. Now she waits for that thundering sound that would follow. She feels cool raindrops on her cheek. Her heartbeat rises as she looks at distant trees that are swaying classically. An exotic bird, perched on a wooden pole, flutters her wings and flies to joins a group flocking around, returning to their homes. 

This is it!

This collective occurrences affect her in a certain way, it happens quite often. Her heart fills with a deep sense of nostalgia, and a freshet of memories rushes in. It has now started to rain heavily. Fat raindrops hitting the ground furiously, making circular waves. She shuts the windowpane.

Memories – you can never be sure what stirs them.

The emptiness of her house tugs her heart. The soothing solitude is screaming now. She looks at the nicely made bed. He was right there. Just two years back. Lying silently. Smiling voicelessly. Looking everywhere without actually looking. There’s an assurance of togetherness even without words.

All togetherness don’t last forever. Sometimes, they come with a date written on it when goodbyes are scheduled. She learned to move on or she thought so. It’s easy to create new memories but can anyone learn to leave their memories behind and move on? 'I wish goodbyes didn’t leave haunting memories.' She thought. But, sometimes these memories are soothing as they connect you with someone who has become a memory. This thread is precious.

She gets up and lies down on the bed. Trying to search that familiar fragrance. That familiar touch. She closes her eyes and takes a foetal position. This is the place she finds solace. This is the place where slumber claims her amicably.


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