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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,396None1,588 (4.12)1 / 878
Title:Half of a yellow sun
Authors:Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author)
Info:London : Harper Perennial, 2011. Paperback.
Collections:To read, Your library
Tags:1960s, 21st century, Africa, Biafra, civil war, colonialism, fiction, historical, Nigeria, Nigerian author, novel, paperback, published 2006, war, World Book Night

Work details

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

  1. 40
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (mrstreme)
  2. 30
    Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2810michael)
  3. 31
    The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2810michael)
    2810michael: På dansk: En halv gul sol
  4. 10
    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)
  5. 10
    There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (chazzard)
  6. 00
    The Baobabs of Tete and Other Stories by Kari Dako (WorldreaderBCN)
  7. 00
    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.
  8. 00
    Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna (cbl_tn)
  9. 00
    The Ghost of Sani Abacha by Chuma Nwokolo (WorldreaderBCN)
  10. 00
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Iudita)
  11. 00
    Sunset at Dawn by Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike (goddesspt2)
    goddesspt2: A novel about the Biafra war. Cited by Adichie in her Author's Note.
  12. 00
    Never again 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 (144)  Danish (4)  Swedish (4)  Italian (3)  Finnish (3)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
A complex and intense novel about the Nigerian civil war (and much more). Well-written and engaging, but definitely not light reading. ( )
1 vote sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
This book deserves its high rating. The first part is very focused on introducing the characters and is painting a very human picture of the family and love relationships we all understand to some extent. In the second half, the historical backdrop of the Nigerian-Biafran conflict comes to the foreground. The power of the book is that the reader at this stage knows the characters so well that we live through the war horrors through the characters we have grown to care for. Great read and lots to learn. ( )
  kaebs | Jan 27, 2014 |
Before reading this book, my impressions of Biafra were of poor starving children with big eyes and distended bellies and knowing somehow that I needed to clean my plate so I wouldn't have to feel guilty about these unfortunates. But now that I've read this masterpiece I have very vivid images of a nation torn apart by civil war and the horrible impact it has on everyone, the rich, the poor, the high ranking and the laborers. War devastates a country, tearing apart families and leaving destruction everywhere. A beautiful and powerful book that will leave you with strong images of Biafra that won't disappear. ( )
  jmoncton | Dec 2, 2013 |
Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. The author gets you to really care about the main characters, and the historical context is tragic but compelling. An excellent book. ( )
  chillybee | Nov 30, 2013 |
This is "based on the Nigerian-Biafran War of 1967 to 1970"--and on the stories of the author's parents among others. The title comes from one of the symbols of the Biafran flag, a half of a yellow sun that "stood for the glorious future." Biafra split off from Nigeria because of the persecution of the Igbo people of the region. It may be one reason I connected with the novel--I wasn't disoriented because someone I had been close to when I was young was an Igbo (she spelled it "Ibo") and I heard from her about the short-lived Biafran nation and her tart take on the other Nigerian tribes--Yoruba, Fulani, Hausa... Tribal diversions exacerbated by religious divisions--Igbos being largely Christian, Yorubas and Hausas Muslim. My friend told me, rather proudly, that the Igbos were known as the "Jews of Nigeria"--entrepreneurial, ambitious, highly valuing education, and considered "uppity" by their fellow Nigerians--and persecuted by them. So I had to smile when I read this tidbit: "Socialism would never work for the Igbo... Oybenjealu is a common name for girls and you know what it means? 'Not to Be Married by a Poor Man.' To stamp that on a child at birth is capitalism at its best."

So yes, this was interesting as a portrait of a culture, of the political currents of the late sixties, of war. But that doesn't get a book five stars with me. It got that because above all it gave me characters I cared about and even minor figures were written with complexity, nuance and insight. The story is primarily told through three characters: Ugwu, a houseboy from a rural village who works for a professor, Odenigbo, with revolutionary principles; Olanna, Odenigbo's lover, and Richard, an English expatriot who loves Olanna's twin sister Kainene. I liked Ugwu, Olanna and Richard--although my liking dipped and rose throughout the story, and at times I felt frustrated with each of them--but the way you would be with a friend you want to shake some sense to--they never lost my overall sympathy. For the first hundred pages Adichie absorbs you into their world and hopes in peace time and lets you get to know them. After that? Well, after that is the Biafran War and it's all the more harrowing for allowing us into their lives before those terrible times. Parts of this novel were heart-breaking and hard to take--very dark. So be prepared and don't expect a light, fluffy read. But a rich one? Yes. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngoziprimary authorall 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:43 -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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