Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This first novel is well worth your time. She has apparently written another novel, a play, and has published a collection of poems.
I marked the following as the most beautiful passage: "As we drove back to Enugu, I laughed loudly, above Fela's stringent singing. I laughed because Nsukka's untarred roads coat cars with dust in the harmattan and with sticky mud in the rainy season. Because the tarred roads spring potholes like surprise presents and the air smells of hills and history and the sunlight scatters the sand and turns it into gold dust. Because Nsukka could free something deep inside your belly that would rise up to your throat and come out as a freedom song. As laughter" (299)
Adichi, Chimamanda Ngazi. Purple Hibiscus. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. New York: 2003.
From: The Chimamanda Ngazi Adichi Website, comments by: Daria Tunca
Adichie's first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), was very well received by readers and critics alike. Set against the background of the political turmoil of the late 1990s in Nigeria, the story centres on Kambili Achike, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl, and her family. Kambili's father, Eugene, is a complex character: a devout Catholic and a political rights activist, he also rules his household with a heavy hand. The narrative, told from the perspective of young Kambili, explores the adolescent's and her brother Jaja's response to their father's authority, as alternative models are provided by their more liberal aunt Ifeoma and their Igbo traditionalist grandfather, whom Eugene dismisses as a "heathen". Family, religion, politics and tolerance thus appear to be the central themes of an outstanding novel which may receive considerable critical attention in the future.