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Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,4902911,339 (4.15)1 / 1272
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST ‚?Ę From the award-winning, bestselling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists‚??a haunting story of love and war. ‚?Ę Recipient of the Women‚??s Prize for Fiction ‚??Winner of Winners‚?Ě award.
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 disappo
… (more)
  1. 100
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (mrstreme)
  2. 51
    The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2810michael)
    2810michael: På dansk: En halv gul sol
  3. 40
    Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2810michael)
  4. 20
    Never Again (Africa Women Writers Series) by Flora Nwapa (goddesspt2)
    goddesspt2: Cited by Adichie in her Author's Note.
  5. 20
    There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe (chazzard)
  6. 21
    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)
  7. 10
    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. 10
    Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna (cbl_tn)
  9. 10
    Sunset at Dawn by Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike (goddesspt2)
    goddesspt2: A novel about the Biafra war. Cited by Adichie in her Author's Note.
  10. 00
    The Baobabs of Tete and Other Stories by Kari Dako (WorldreaderBCN)
  11. 00
    The Ghost of Sani Abacha by Chuma Nwokolo (WorldreaderBCN)
  12. 11
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Iudita)
  13. 00
    Graceland by Chris Abani (wandering_star)
Africa (13)
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» See also 1272 mentions

English (264)  Italian (5)  Finnish (4)  Danish (4)  Swedish (4)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (289)
Showing 1-5 of 264 (next | show all)
Nigerian Igbo twin sisters Olanna and Kainene are as unlike as they can be. Both however, are married/partnered to academics at the Nsukka university; one is an expat Frenchman and the other a Nigerian native, also of the Igbo tribe.

The first part of the book we see lives, plans and relationships unfolding and coming to fruition.

But then there is an outbreak of violence between the northern Nigerian tribes, primarily the Hausa, and the Igbo people. The presidency falls, genocidal massacres occur and suddenly there is no safe place.

The story is told through the lives of the sisters, their partners, a child and a beloved houseboy all who support the secession of the southern part of Nigeria into what they hope will be a new nation of Biafra, where the Igbo can be safe.

But none of the western powers come to the aid of the new nation. The Biafrans fight with homemade weapons and a sense of the justice of their cause. Eventually humanitarian aid is cut off. As well as being killed in constant air raids, the people of Biafra starve.

The end comes with much more bloodshed and there is nothing to do but to be reconstructed back into Nigeria.

This is a truly sweeping searing epic, not only telling the story of the brutalization of war and the failure of what some see as a just cause, but also of the evolution of relationships, and how quickly circumstances can change and lifestyles disappear.

I’ll definitely be reading more of this author, who, in one interview said that Africa’s stories must be told by African authors. ( )
  streamsong | Apr 9, 2023 |
A very detailed look at war in West Africa as seen through the eyes of married academicians, a British ex-pat and his girlfriend, and a houseboy. The book has as much to say about love and loss as it does about war, and it does a good job of interweaving political messages without being overly heavy handed. It's got an epic feel to it so you need to enjoy that type of read. The African names are tough to follow. It probably deserves 5 stars for literary merit, but in terms of enjoyability - - it's more of a 3. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
CW: Sexual content. War crimes. Emotional distress.

3.5 Stars ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
I always have a hard time rating and reviewing books that have important themes or history, but are unsettling to read, or when the characters are realistic and flawed versus idealistic and admirable. This book was both unsettling and had characters who were disappointing. I admit that I started reading this book without looking at the synopsis, so when the book took a 180 from a pleasant story about academic life in Nigeria in the 1960's to civil war I was surprised. I learned some history, the setting of the story is masterfully written, and the narrators in both versions of the audio book I listened to were excellent. ( )
  bangerlm | Jan 18, 2023 |
NA ( )
  eshaundo | Jan 7, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 264 (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 (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngoziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edet, UnyimeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sundström, JoakimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
'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.
The Book: The World Was Silent When We Died
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST ‚?Ę From the award-winning, bestselling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists‚??a haunting story of love and war. ‚?Ę Recipient of the Women‚??s Prize for Fiction ‚??Winner of Winners‚?Ě award.
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 disappo

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