22 January, 2012

A Purple Sun from Africa

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my newest favorite writer. I bought her book Purple Hibiscus in 2009, during the Aksara books sale and admiring her writing style ever since. A young writer she is, born in September 1977, she wrote with such maturity and delivered to her readers such insightful characters. Chimamanda's writings are simple yet well crafted, carefully written. If we're talking about painting, Adichie is a true realist. Haven't read her first and latest novels, but thanks to dear mr. Google I found a link to numerous short stories she wrote: 

From all short stories she has written, Cell One I like the most. Begins with an introduction from a sister point of view on her older brother's habit of stealing things. Readers would first drawn into antipathy to the first character's brother, a popular man on campus, handsome, unreliable and all things worldly...until the day the brother is brought to jail for a crime he doesn't committed. Enters a white man, the old white man is brought to replace his son who the police could not find.
In jail the white man must suffered various treatment from the police and the brother does not like it. The story ends with readers expose to the brother's solid character, of how he does not making things up when he could, someone as good looking as his, exploiting what he has done to draw his parents sympathy. In the age of infotainment programs, Facebook Status Updates and Blackberry Messenger, where people love to expose their 'tears' in order to get sympathy *sic*, people who know how to guard their feelings are indeed...admirable. (I) Like the character Adichie carefully built.
Let me end this with a piece of interview I got from internet, it's a sole prove of how unpretentious Adichie is as a writer...she does not feel ashamed to admit she also reads bad fictions...

CNA: I really don’t know. I am sometimes suspicious of the ‘literary influences’ question. It makes me wonder if it really means – tell us who you are trying to imitate. It also makes me wonder if the person asking is trying to ‘place’ you somewhere as a writer. Chinua Achebe will always be important to me because his work influenced not so much my style as my writing philosophy: reading him emboldened me, gave me permission to write about the things I knew well.
I am influenced by everything I read, I suppose. I read bad fiction and it influences me in such a way that I know what never to do. I read good fiction and it makes things flow for me, as it were. I generally prefer quiet, careful writing, story and style done well, literature that makes you think of that interesting word ‘art.’ One of my favourite novels is ‘Reef’ by Romesh Gunesekera. Some writers I have recently reread and will probably read again are Paule Marshall, Amit Chaudhuri, John Banville, Nawal El-Saadawi, Graham Greene, Flora Nwapa, Bernard Malamud, Ivan Turgenev and the incredibly talented John Gregory Brown.
So many people have affected my writing; for everyone I meet and/or talk to, there is the possibility of my fiction being influenced. Of my contemporaries, perhaps the greatest influence is my friend the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina. I am in awe of his brilliance. Although we often disagree, I think our ideas take better shape when bounced back and forth between each other.