Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.             With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.                       Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all. Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place, bringing us one of the most powerful, dramatic, and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever had.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-03-10

A masterpiece. A must read for all.
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This story begins in Nigeria in the early 1960s, shortly after the country has gained independence from Britain, and continues through the civil war of the late 1960s, when the eastern region of Nigeria claimed independence as the Republic of Biafra. The book tells the stories of several characters as they struggle through these challenging and horrific times.

The novel and its characters provide an interesting and relevant commentary on the lasting and devastating effects that colonization has on the colonized country. At times the book was difficult to read as it depicted the violence and mass starvation that was part of the war. I had to put it down and stop reading several times because it was too much.

I wasn’t extremely impressed by the writing, and the characters didn’t immediately draw me in, but overall I would recommend the book.
This is really a 3.5.

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