- Paperback: 543 pages
- Publisher: Anchor (September 4, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400095204
- ISBN-13: 978-1400095209
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,011 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Half of a Yellow Sun Paperback – September 4, 2007
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“A gorgeous, pitiless account of love, violence and betrayal during the Biafran war.” —Time“Instantly enthralling. . . . Vivid. . . . Powerful . . . A story whose characters live in a changing wartime atmosphere, doing their best to keep that atmosphere at bay.” —The New York Times“Ingenious. . . . [With] searching insight, compassion and an unexpected yet utterly appropriate touch of wit, Adichie has created an extraordinary book.” —Los Angeles Times“Brilliant. . . . Adichie entwines love and politics to a degree rarely achieved by novelists. . . . That is what great fiction does–it simultaneously devours and ennobles, and in its freely acknowledged invention comes to be truer than the facts upon which it is built.” —Elle
About the Author
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria, where she attended medical school for two years at the University of Nigeria before coming to the United States. A 2003 O. Henry Prize winner, Adichie was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards, and has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and the Iowa Review. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and longlisted for the Booker. She now divides her time between the U.S. and Nigeria.
Top customer reviews
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Essentially, the book is about chronicling the tone and feel of the Biafran conflict. She leaves the reader wanting Biafra, needing Biafra, and feeling remorse for the consequences of its failure (not a spoiler – her plot is carved into history). Nigeria in the 1960s was a society entangled in ethnic troubles and then civil war. The genocide inflicted on the Igbo people is horrible and tragic. Through the war they suffered and starved, eventually bringing Biafra to its knees. This part of her story is one of the most powerful, and where Adichie really flexes her literary muscles. How she is able to have starvation permeate her imagined world, effecting each character and the world around them, is fantastic. How Adichie was able to capture the pain and torment in such a realistic way is beyond me. Her depth of research also becomes apparent here, regularly – but not obnoxiously – dropping in facts and names of organizations and people who were there during the conflict.
Adichie’s argument and motive for writing such a work was to chronicle with as much accuracy as possible the tone and feel of that conflict. She leaves the reader wanting Biafra, needing Biafra, and feeling remorse for the consequences of its failure (not a spoiler – her plot is carved into history). I can guarantee you will put down this book and go straight to your computer to research this event.
The length of the work is one of the few complaints I have. In Adichie’s obsessive need to create the world of Biafra as realistically for the reader as possible, her details can slow the pacing. This is an emotional novel, and she builds the emotions over time. Also, don’t be expecting to laugh – you barely will.
Yet, if you are looking for a work that will move you and your worldview, this is the one. I highly recommend.
"Half of a Yellow Sun" tells a story set in the tumultuous 1960s in Nigeria. Nigeria achieved independence in 1960 and then was engulfed in a furious civil war from 1967-1970 as a large section of the new country seceded and called itself Biafra. Those of us of a certain age will always associate the name Biafra with photos of starving children, their bellies swollen and their limbs sticklike, dying by the thousands as the Biafran rebellion was basically starved out.
"Half of a Yellow Sun" wends its way through this time period, alternating its voice among three main characters: Ugwu, a young Igbo boy who begins to work as a houseboy for one of the intellectual voices of Biafran independence; Olanna, the upper class mistress (eventually wife) of that same man; and Richard, a middle-class Briton who comes to Nigeria because he's fascinated by Igbo history and becomes obsessed by Olanna's twin sister.
How the country's independence and then civil war affects these people is a story of love and betrayal, of fear and bravery, of family and culture/class struggles. "Half of a Yellow Sun" opened my eyes to some of the history of Nigeria and the lives of the people there. (Modern Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Did you know that? I didn't know that. Turns out there's a lot I didn't know about Nigeria.)