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Half of a yellow sun by Chimamanda Ngozi…

Half of a yellow sun (original 2006; edition 2011)

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author), Jeni Thompson (Cover photographer), Vania Leles (Cover model)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1612181,203 (4.14)1 / 984
Title:Half of a yellow sun
Authors:Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author)
Other authors:Jeni Thompson (Cover photographer), Vania Leles (Cover model)
Info:London : Harper Perennial, 2011. Paperback.
Collections:Purged, Unread unowned, Wishlist, To borrow
Tags:1960s, 21st century, Africa, Biafra, civil war, colonialism, fiction, historical, Nigeria, Nigerian author, novel, paperback, war, World Book Night

Work details

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)

  1. 60
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    A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche (imyril)
    imyril: Another difficult novel of modern Africa, focusing on the Nigeria civil war and the Biafra famine rather than Rwanda.
  10. 00
    Sunset at Dawn by Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike (goddesspt2)
    goddesspt2: A novel about the Biafra war. Cited by Adichie in her Author's Note.
  11. 11
    The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The stories of a impoverished countryside boy and two upper-class sisters are told against the backdrop of the 1960s Biafran War. This book, by one of Nigeria's most famous authors, should appeal to readers interested in Nigeria's history, Nigerian society and the lives of women in Nigeria.… (more)
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    Never Again (Africa Women Writers Series) by Flora Nwapa (goddesspt2)
    goddesspt2: Cited by Adichie in her Author's Note.
  13. 00
    Graceland by Chris Abani (wandering_star)

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English (198)  Danish (4)  Finnish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (218)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
Chimamanda Nogzi Adichie's "Half a Yellow Sun" is one of the best books I've read this year. (To be honest, I've read a lot of stinkers this year, but this definitely would have risen to the top even if I read only good stuff.)

Set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, the novel chronicles the experiences of Igbo (and one Brit) as a civil war erupts when a piece of Nigeria attempts to break off into independent Biafra. This occurs after a Igbo coup fails to take over the Nigerian government-- Igbo villagers are killed en masse in retribution and those that survive attempt to carve out an independent state.

The book really resonated with me, especially because of the turmoil in my own country at this time. The characters are all really interesting, with great back stories woven into the plot in a skillful way. Very glad to have read this one. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 8, 2016 |
Half of a Yellow Sun is set in post-independence Nigeria. Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960, and as soon as the British left, the struggle for power began among Nigerians based on ethnicity, religion, culture, oi and various other factors. This soon led to a civil war in 1967 and the result was an independent state in the name of Republic of Biafra which was mostly inhabited by people of Igbo ethnicity.

The story is narrated by Ugwu; a village boy who comes to work in the household of Odenigbo; a Professor of Mathematics at Nsukka University, Olanna; Odenigbo’s partner and twin sister to Kainene, and Richard; an English writer who first comes to Nigeria to explore Igbo-Ukwu art for his book, later falls in love with Kainene and fights for the cause of Biafra. As the story unfolds, we see the birth, rise and fall of Biafra through the eyes of these three narrators.

Brutality of war is one of the ongoing themes in the novel. At the beginning of the war thousands of people get slaughtered mercilessly. In my opinion, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie does too good of a job bringing these horrific events to life, specially when she writes about the woman Olanna meets in the train when she is running for her life, who holds tight to a bowl which carries the head of her little daughter “with the ashy-gray skin and the braided hair and rolled-back eyes and open mouth”. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us hunger and starvation also lead to thousands of deaths during war time, when we read about Nigeria cutting of humanitarian aid to Biafra, driving people to eat rats, lizards, and crickets just so they can hold on to life.

"Thousands of Biafrans were dead, and this man wanted to know if there was anything new about one dead white man. Richard would write about this, the rule of Western journalism: One hundred dead black people equal one dead white person."

Western media’s coverage of third world issues is something that is highly criticized even today. When a bomb goes off in a first world country, we see media covering those stories for days, when in turn they might not even mention of something that happened in a third world country which resulted in significantly more body count. Through Richard, who decides to name his book ‘The World Was Silent When We Died’, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie heavily criticizes these journalism practices which often seem to revere ‘the importance’ of white lives over blacks.

"… And on top of it, her parents sent her to university. Why? Too much schooling ruins a woman; everyone knows that. It gives a woman a big head and she will start to insult her husband.What kind of wife will that be?"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, being a feminist herself, talks of many fallacies Nigeria holds through her novel. In the eyes of Odenigbo’s mother, Olanna will never be a good enough wife for her son because Olanna is educated and has career aspirations of her own. But Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie portrays both Olanna and Kainene as accomplished women in their own right, whose courage do not lag behind their male partners. I believe this is the kind of female empowerment Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie hopes and dreams for Nigeria, where daughters will not be pawns in their fathers’ schemes to reach success, and wives will have a life outside their households.

I kept pushing off reading the book because I always felt this novel will leave me in tears. However, that did not happen probably because the story is narrated by three people, which did not give me much space to connect with either of them in a deeper level. Nonetheless, Half of a Yellow Sun is one of my favorite reads this year. ( )
  Nirmala.Chandrasiri | Nov 30, 2016 |
Intense, real, moving.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Everyone should read this book. Easily the best novel I read in 2007. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Wow. Just as good as everyone said it was. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
While there are disturbing scenes, the writing is superb, and Adichie puts a human face on war-torn Africa. The characters are authentic, the story is compelling. It is a worthwhile read, which will linger in your thoughts long after you turn the last page.

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngoziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andoh, AdjoaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sundström, JoakimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Today I see it still--

Dry, wire-thin in sun and dust of the dry months--

Headstone on tiny debris of passionate courage.--

Chinua Achebe,

From "Mango Seedling" in

Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems
My grandfathers, whom I never knew,
Nwoye David Adichie and Aro-Nweke Felix Odigwe,
did not survive the war.
My grandmothers, Nwabuodu Regina Odigwe and Nwamgbafor Agnes Adiche, remarkable women
both, did.
This book is dedicated to their memories:
ka fa nodu na ndokwa.
And to Mellitus, wherever he may be.
First words
Master was a little crazy; he had spent too many years reading books overseas, talked to himself in his office, did not always return greetings, and had too much hair.
'I am Nigerian because a white man created Nigeria and gave me that identity. I am black because the white man constructed black to be as different as possible from his white. But I was Igbo before the white man came.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007200285, Paperback)

In 1960s Nigeria, a country blighted by civil war, three lives intersect. Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna's enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race - and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A novel set during Nigeria's struggle for independence in the 1960s involving five characters including thirteen-year-old Ugwu, a university professor, the professor's mistress, and a young Englishman named Richard.

(summary from another edition)

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