Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Nigeria

608b6549a2cf9cf029ed1334d00c6d83Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006

I found I had to read Half of a Yellow Sun slowly, savoring the characters and the language, and I’m not sure a  review can do the book justice so I won’t even try.   The novel shifts in time, the voices are brightly colored threads.  It is a novel that tells a story to tell the truth.  It is a story of two sisters.

Adichie has her characters lead us through the history of Nigeria during the 1960’s.  My memories of that time hold images of starving children and refugee camps, but I had no real understanding of why Biafra’s people where suffering.  I thought it had to do with drought, instead it had to do with politics.  Half of a Yellow Sun tells of  Biafra’s struggle for independence and the violence that followed, but it is never heavy-handed.  I learned from the characters, as if sitting and listening to them talk about their daily lives, loves and struggles.  This is a novel about the end of colonialism.  It  is a beautiful, sad, profoundly moving story about family, love, allegiances, class and race.  I can not wait to read Adichie’s new collection of stories, The Thing Around Your Neck.

From an interview with the author:

I wrote this novel because I wanted to write about love and war, because I grew up in the shadow of Biafra, because I lost both grandfathers in the Nigeria-Biafra war, because I wanted to engage with my history in order to make sense of my present, many of the issues that led to the war remain unresolved in Nigeria today, because my father has tears in his eyes when he speaks of losing his father, because my mother still cannot speak at length about losing her father in a refugee camp, because the brutal bequests of colonialism make me angry, because the thought of the egos and indifference of men leading to the unnecessary deaths of men and women and children enrages me, because I don’t ever want to forget.

Half of a Yellow Sun website

Other reviews:

B&b ex libris



pages turned

Ready When You  Are, C.B.


Filed under Orbis Terrarum 2009, Review

14 responses to “Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Nigeria

  1. Adichie is an author I REALLY need to discover. I love what she said in that interview, and how she said it too.

  2. SO glad to see you appreciated this novel, Gavin – I find Adichie’s writing exceptional and this novel is really a must read (in my opinion).

    • Wendy – I agree with you about “a must read”. Can’t wait for the story collection and I just found out she’s coming to town to read at the end of June!

  3. adevotedreader

    All I can say is here here! Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and her new collection are both definitely worth reading as well.

    • I have Purple Hibiscus on my TBR list and The Thing Around Your Neck on hold at the library. I just found out she is coming to town to read at the end of June!

  4. Gavin, I’ve read several books in a row that I’ve really enjoyed; however, it looks like you’re having a great reading year of your own! I’ll have to get around to Adichie one of these days–thanks for the review. Cheers!

  5. Your review does do the book justice. I, too, found myself taking in the book slowly. The combination of Adichie’s style and the history made it impossible to do anything else. I’m looking forward to her collection of stories as well.

  6. Adichie has been on my ‘to read’ list for quite some time. I will be reading her very soon!

  7. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: May 30, 2009 at Semicolon

  8. Pingback: Black African Authors « Diversify Your Reading

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