Saturday, June 9, 2012

Half of a Yellow Sun

Book: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Country: Nigeria

Description:  With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war. (from

(Various thoughts I wrote down while reading the book last January, as well as my review)

Too much sex.  Very poignant other than that, though, and very poetic thoughts of everyone.

All the violence and suffering makes me think how lucky I've been in my life.

Really liked.  Very well written.  Showed the violence, disappointment, and corruption (moral as well as governmental), suffering that comes of war.  Showed how both sides did horrible things--Nigerians massacred Igbo, really cruel to the Biafrans after the war and when occupying.  But Biafrans had high officials who were living in luxury while the people starved and were bombed, "conscripted" anything male practically, and the soldiers raped and stole and were arrogant just like the Nigerian soldiers.
Characters very believable.  They all struggled, and I thought they persevered and broke down and suffered in very, very realistic ways.  I do stand by my earlier assertion that there was too much sex, but I do agree that it all served the story and character development.  The same was true of the violence--all graphic, but absolutely none of it pointless.

Would definitely recommend. Made me think/reflect on violence, on how much we have and how much others don't have, on how there's still injustice (because even though set in the 60s felt modern, too).

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