This is the sweeping new novel from the author of "Purple Hibiscus", shortlisted for the Orange Prize and winner of the Commonwealth Writers Award. 'Vividly written, thrumming with life, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Half of a Yellow Sun" is a remarkable novel. In its compassionate intelligence as in its capacity for intimate portraiture, this novel is a worthy successor to such 20th-century classics as Cinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" and V.S. Naipaul's "A Bend in the River".' - Joyce Carol Oates. This highly anticipated ...
This is the sweeping new novel from the author of "Purple Hibiscus", shortlisted for the Orange Prize and winner of the Commonwealth Writers Award. 'Vividly written, thrumming with life, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Half of a Yellow Sun" is a remarkable novel. In its compassionate intelligence as in its capacity for intimate portraiture, this novel is a worthy successor to such 20th-century classics as Cinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" and V.S. Naipaul's "A Bend in the River".' - Joyce Carol Oates. This highly anticipated new novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at the time of a vicious civil war in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood. The three main characters in the novel get swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. One is a young boy from a poor village who is employed at a university lecturer's house. The other is a young middle-class woman, Olanna, who has to confront the reality of the massacre of her relatives. And, the third is a white man, a writer who lives in Nigeria for no clear reason, and who falls in love with Olanna's sister, a remote and enigmatic character. As these people's lives intersect, they have to question their own responses to the unfolding political events. This extraordinary novel is about Africa in a wider sense: about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race; and the ways in which love can complicate all of these things. Immensely powerful and with a sweeping pace, this novel will be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
Chimamanda Adichie's highly -- praised 2006 novel "Half of a Yellow Sun" is based upon the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 -- 1970 between the central government of Nigeria and the would-be secessionist state of Biafra. Adichie grew up in Nigeria. She was born well after the end of the war, with many of her close relatives fighting for Biafra. In 2008. Adichie received a MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Award. She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.
In some respects. Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage" is a close parallel to "Half of a Yellow Sun". Crane and Adichie both wrote their books when young, and both described large and brutal Civil Wars that they had not seen. Both authors used stories from witnesses, their own reading, and their powers of imagination and language to recreate the war each described for their readers.
Adichie's book on the Nigerian Civil War is much longer and slower-paced than Crane's short, impressionistic novel of the American Civil War. "Half of a Yellow Sun" includes a large developed group of central characters and moves between personal experience and the larger story of the war. In 1960, Nigeria attained independence from Great Britain with high hopes. There were great tensions among the various groups pushed together in one nation. These tensions soon erupted into a long difficult conflict bringing brutality and starvation in its wake.
Adichie's book has five major characters, all of whom are drawn from the Biafran side of the war. The characters include two fraternal twin sisters, Olanna and Kaienene, Olanna's lover and eventual husband Odenigbo, a mathematics professor strongly committed to the revolution, Richard, an Englishman and writer and lover of Kaienene, and Ugwu an adolescent from a poor rural area who becomes Odenigbo's houseboy. The book begins with a middle-class intellectual environment in the fledgling new nation of Nigeria. It develops slowly, showing the relationships of the five characters and focusing on their economic and cultural differences. Adichie gradually weaves her characters into the unfolding story of coups, massacres, secession, and civil war. The book shifts between the early optimistic days in the early 1960s of the new Nigeria to the years of the war in the late 1960s. A long flashback chapter is sandwiched in the middle of the book. The settings have a slow cumulative impact and work gradually to bring together the personal and political aspects of the story.
The lengthy book drags in places, but the overall impact is moving and strong. The author's sympathies clearly lie with the people of Biafra in their efforts to establish their own nation. Adichie shows the war primarily from the perspective of Biafra. She captures to fortitude and suffering of Biafra's war effort and the horrific experiences of Biafra's people. The book allows the reader to see the situation that produced this terrible war and the suffering of the people of Biafra without necessarily forming a full, dogmatic judgment. The reader is given some sense of the experience.
I was fortunate to read this book after reading two books in Oxford University Press' "Very Short Introductions" series: the first about African history, African History: A Very Short Introduction" and the second about African religions, African Religions: A Very Short Introduction". These books stimulated my interest in Africa and showed me how much I don't know. Adichie's book is about a part of the world and about a conflict that do not receive the focus they deserve. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn about the Nigerian Civil War and to think about Africa that Adichie offers in her book.
Jul 16, 2009
This book describes the period of the Biafra war and the emosional trama of the people in Nigeria
Apr 10, 2008
This book was an excellent read - compelling, well-written, and a wonderful insight into Nigeria's troubled past the impact on her people.
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