Half of a Yellow Sun Paperback – Sep 4 2007
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A New York Times Notable Book
A Richard & Judy Book Club Selection
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Finalist for the commonwealth writers’ prize for best book (Africa region)
“A gorgeous, pitiless account of love, violence and betrayal during the Biafran war.”
“A landmark novel, whose clear, undemonstrative prose can so precisely delineate nuance. . . . She brings to it a lucid intelligence and compassion, and a heartfelt plea for memory.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“At once historical and eerily current, Half of a Yellow Sun honours the memory of a war largely forgotten outside Nigeria, except as a synonym for famine. But although she uses history to gain leverage on the present, Adichie is a storyteller, not a crusader.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“[Adichie’s] second novel leaves you reeling at the horrors people can inflict on one another. . . . The stark maturity of its vision is so startling that the great African novelist Chinua Achebe refused to believe the book could have been written by someone so young.”
“Adichie has created a jarring and achingly sensitive fiction. With powerful poetic prose unique in a writer so young, Half of a Yellow Sun is a moving novel that I would recommend to anyone brave enough to follow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie into the hell where her characters live, love and face unspeakable horrors.”
“…[an] artful page-turner…[a] profoundly gripping story. This dramatic, intelligent epic has its lush and sultry side as well…This is a transcendent novel of many descriptive triumphs, most notably its depiction of the impact of war’s brutalities on peasants and intellectuals alike. It’s a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing.”
— Publishers Weekly
“We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. Her experimentation with the dual mandate of English and Igbo in perennial discourse is a case in point. Timid and less competent writers would avoid the complication altogether, but Adichie embraces it because her story needs it. She is fearless, or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria's civil war. Adichie came almost fully made.”
Praise for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Purple Hibiscus:
“The secret of Adichie’s style is simplicity, rhythm and balance. She writes a poet’s sentences.”
–London Review of Books
“A sensitive and touching story of a child exposed too early to religious intolerance and the uglier side of the Nigerian state.”
–J. M. Coetzee
About the Author
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria. Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book and the Hurston/Wright Legacy award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta and the Iowa Review, among other literary journals, and she received an O. Henry Prize in 2003. She is a 2005/2006 Hodder fellow at Princeton University and divides her time between the U.S. and Nigeria.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
While the war for Biafra's independence, born out of highly complex Nigerian and international political circumstances, provides the essential context for the novel, Adichie's focus is on the personal and private, the struggle of the civilian Igbo population. Her depiction of the horrors of war, the starvation and destruction is realistic. Yet she does not allow these scenes to take over and succeeds in not overwhelming the reader with them. By concentrating on one family and its close circle of friends and neighbours, Adichie creates an intimate portrait of these people's lives during both these critical periods. She paints her characters and their ongoing interactions against the panoramic view of events and environments that influence their lives and challenges their peace and even their existence.
Central to her story are the twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, from a wealthy middleclass Igbo family. The beautiful Olanna leaves Lagos for a university environment to be with her political firebrand lover, the math professor Odenigbo.Read more ›
I loved this book, as did the other members of my club. I found the characters so real and interesting and their stories consuming. I learned a great deal from this book, not only the history of this civil war, but also about people. I love the way the author set her story in such a horrific time without making the novel feel like a prelude to depression and hopelessness. The book was real and not without tragedy, yet hope and resilience were the prevailing themes. The book follows many characters without confusing the reader or watering down their stories. It truly is the work of a highly skilled author!
Definitely on a must read list and my current number one recommendation.
Ugwu, a houseboy for eccentric university lecturer Odenigbo. Olanna, whose parents raise her and twin sister Kainene in the most privileged of backgrounds in Lagos; she leaves everything behind to follow Odenigbo as they are very much in love. Richard, a timid British national charmed by the Igbo culture and enthralled by Kainene, whose personality is an enigma for everyone. Obviously many other characters rotate all around and as we become acquainted with each of them, their presence is always pertinent and complementary to the main story.
I would not add anything else as the tale would be spoiled but I cannot refrain from strongly recommending this book as it is informative in many ways, its narrative flows beautifully, heartbreakingly, even comically at times and your heart is captured within the lines. It does not dwell on the violence of war even though it (the violence) is perceived in subtle but incredibly effective ways.
Read this book, you will not regret it. Quoting from my review title, simply wonderful, indeed.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book. Sad story about the Biafra war. Very informative. Two of the hardest parts for me where the two accounts of soldiers gang rape. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I can't remember the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed a novel: the characters are well-developed, and from its opening paragraph, the story is compelling.Published 8 months ago by "Bomber"
I was young when there were news reports about Biafra and (I am ashamed to say) there were jokes that had Biafra or starving children as the punch line. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ame
I put off reading this because of the mention of the war in Biafra, but it is not depressing. Sad in places, but fascinating. Read morePublished 23 months ago by A. R. Laidlaw