Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun is an enlightening book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and talks about the Biafran civil war in Nigeria, when the eastern state of Biafra attempted to break away, but was forced into submission.
A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, and the chilling violence that followed.
With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and they must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.
Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all.
- “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. She is fearless, or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made.”
— Chinua Achebe
- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, takes place in her native Nigeria during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when civil war erupted as the eastern state of Biafra attempted to break away and was then forced into submission . . . [Adichie] writes about these events with deep feeling and unflinching vividness . . . . [Half of a Yellow Sun] begins as a kind of social comedy and doesn’t darken until the war breaks out.”
—Charles McGrath, The New York Times
- “Set in 1960s Nigeria, this novel provides a historical record at the same time as giving an insight into the experience of living through a bloody civil war . . . . Adichie is a beguiling author . . . . Full of drama and characters you care about . . . Educational and enlightening.”
—The Works (UK) (four stars)