Daddy’s Girls?: Father-Daughter Relations and the Failures of the Postcolonial Nation-State in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Véroniqe Tadjo’s Loin de mon père

Ana Leena Toivanen



Postcolonial theoretical discourses have adopted postnationalist overtones, declaring the obsolescence of the nation and paradigmatizing dislocation. Sometimes, however, the claims of postnationalism may seem premature: the nation-state persist on the African literary agenda. Cosmopolitanism is a useful concept for understanding contemporary African literatures and the ways in which they negotiate their relation to the local realities of the continent and the world beyond its boundaries.

In this article, I read the narrative of the failed postcolonial nation-state through the lens of the father-daughter relations in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Tadjo’s Loin de mon père (2010). The father-daughter relations are intertwined with the narrative of the postcolonial nation, giving voice to daughterly disillusionment. The texts inscribe the national crisis on a larger map, making it a global, rather than simply a local concern. The novels undertake a new attitude towards nationhood while being interested in national issues: their future visions are not in line with the logic of the nation-state, but nor are they so with the transnational dimension. Instead, they remain torn between the unease caused by the failures of the postcolonial nation-state and the unfulfilled hopes invested in diaspora.


Cosmopolitanism; daughter; disillusionment; father figure; nation.

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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