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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.
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But I do recommend the book to learn something about the events at that time.
A good movie with Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor was made of this.
Through excellent character development you come to know the main characters as if they were your friends and neighbors. She places you in the pre war time so effectively that you feel the incremental losses the characters experience and want to wake them out of their denial of what is to come.
Not an easy read because of the nature of the subject matter but a revealing and riveting experience.
Sadly, interpretations of Half of a Yellow Sun have often been erroneously reduced to an Igbo struggle for survival and secession. Even the Editorial Review here on Amazon reads: "When the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967 to form the independent nation of Biafra, a bloody, crippling three-year civil war followed." Imagine how this must sound to the numerous non-Igbos from present Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States who fought fervently for Biafra until the bitter end. Imagine the feelings of those who lost loved ones and property to the carnage. My own Ibibio family produced two soldiers who fought for and remained loyal to Biafra during and well after the war. The Secretary to the Biafran Government, N.U. Akpan was not an Igbo man. Biafra's Ambassador Ignatius Kogbara was not an Igbo man. Biafra's leading propagandist, Okokon Ndem was not an Igbo man. Effiong, Biafra's Chief of General Staff was not an Igbo man. The famed Archibong brothers who lost their lives during the war were not Igbos. In 2014 Akwa Ibom State Government built a cenotaph in memory of those who lost their lives during the war. Why would this non-Igbo State embark on such an initiative except that its people played a significant role and suffered during the war?
Granted, the Igbos were the greatest victims of the crisis and suffered the most in terms of loss of lives and property. But even though seven million Jews died during World War II, that historic conflict cannot simply be redefined as a Jewish story or struggle for Jewish survival.
Chimamanda Adichie deserves utmost commendation for being a captivating writer and for bringing to life a tragic story that had erstwhile been largely suppressed because those who won the war dominated and influenced the Nigeria socio-political scene for several years following the conflict. One of Adichie's key sources of initial information was most likely her people, the Igbos, since she was born seven years after the war. Notwithstanding these facts, and in order not to lose the human and global significance of the Nigeria-Biafra conflict, it is important to reappraise Adichie's novel more broadly and objectively, and to subsequently capture the causes, consequences and handling of the war as an experience that involved Igbos, several other ethnic groups, indeed all of Nigeria and to an extent Africa and the international community.