Lifestyle: Half Of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

You will savor every moment of this deliciously crafted storyline by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche as she serves up a breathtaking master class in creative writing. It is not an exaggeration to say this novel is a work of art – a masterpiece!

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I knew very little about the Biafran war in Nigeria before reading this, but through Adiche’s powerful story telling, I now feel for the plight of the 3 million men and women who lost their lives in 1967, when the Igbo tribe declared independence away from the main tribes in Nigeria (the Yoruba’s and Hausa’s).

 Storyline based in Africa: Nigeria

Gripping from start to finish, this is one of those books (rare since childhood) that made me unaware of the physical act of reading. I became lost in its exquisite prose, to such an extent that, every sound and emotion lifted off the page and became real to my imagination. It is also a book that left me staring blankly at the final page distraught that it had finished – it was that damn good!

The action begins at the University of Nsukka: Nigeria

The story line opens before the war, shortly after Nigeria wins independence from the UK, when middle-class life at Nsukka University is rich in food, booze, revolutionary rhetoric and hope. The narrative focus shifts between 5 characters connected to the university:

  • The central figure is Ugwu a young houseboy for Odenigbo
  • Odenigbo is an eloquent but eccentric university maths professor
  • Olanna becomes Odenigbo’s wife
  • Richard is an English ex-pat who falls in love with Nigerian art
  • And Olanna has a twin sister called Kainene

A great plot

The author competently weaves the themes of love and betrayal, laughter and misery throughout the story line. At first, the drama unfolds like a modern day soap opera, with plenty of twists and turns in human relationships. The narrative explores Odenigbo’s pomposity and his unconventional academic friends, Ugwu’s lustful habits and his attempts to reconcile his poor upbringing in the village with his new middle class life on campus, Olanna’s ability to make everyone fall in love with her, plus Kainene’s iron-clad will in pursuing a career in business.

The Biafran War in 1967

Half way through, the mood abruptly shifts as the characters are faced with the Biafran war, and the narrative transforms to reflect the tensions. Through Adiche’s evocative writing style, we witness the horrors, the massacres, the panic, the children who starve and die in the most horrific ways as if we are actually present.

As a consequence, I grew attached to Adiche’s characters who are complex, warm, funny, but also flawed human beings. No one is perfect, but they seem more real and more lovable as a result. So when their world is destroyed – it cuts deep. None of the characters are one dimensional and many of their experiences can provide lessons for us today.

It’s a fantastic read

If I had my way, this book would make for compulsory reading for any young intelligent, aspirational black woman. It’s astounding to think such accomplished work was written when Adiche was in her mid twenties! She went on to win the Orange broadband prize for best fiction for this novel, at the age of twenty-nine in 2007.

Needless to say, from cover to cover, her extraordinary writing gift is awe-inspiring (and that’s coming from a critical writer). On one hand, Adiche possesses an incredible reverence for her identity and the complexity of human relationships yet she reveals a deft maturity in being able to depict the harrowing, historical events of the Biafran war with both delicacy and accuracy.

How will this book change your life?

Be the first amongst your friends to read this before it hits movie theatres next year! I cannot emphasise what a triumph this book represents for African (black) literature! Devour it. Get lost in it. Share it with others. Then come back and give us your opinion.

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Relationships: 5 Ways to Stop Dating Potential

Photo cred: @damnrottenkid How to STOP dating potential Not going to take too much of your time know you have a busy week ahead mama nonetheless this is a post worth checking out because if you’re an ambitious black female, maybe you’re aiming for a graduate degree or you’ve just been promoted at work; now your career is sorted you’re probably looking around wondering where all the good brothas … [Read More...]

Comments

  1. She is an amazing author and a beautiful strong woman. Another great book of hers is Purple Hibiscus.

  2. You have a fantastic way of describing a book’s contents. I am definitely interested and from your review, I am certain that this read will be just what I’ve been waiting for. I haven’t read a really good book since Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. It is absolutely my favorite book; I’ve read it over and over. So, thanks again for this review.

    Whitney
    thedecorchronicles.blogspot.com

  3. Makeda 🙂 I’m so glad you agree, Adiche has been a real inspiration in my life, indeed she takes excellence to another level. I’ve read Purple Hibiscus and as a debut it was a solid start.

    Hey Whitney! Thank you for your support & compliment! I really tried to make this review concise – it wasn’t easy as I could go on & on. Millions of people online have also raved about this book; I hope you enjoy reading it too.

  4. Machoka job says:

    NICE

  5. Gerena G. says:

    Read this book 2 years ago in one of my college courses. I loved it!

  6. Awesome Gerena! Thanks for your feedback! Ditto, I lurve this book as well. I bought Whitney’s recommendation, so I’ll be reading that soon.

  7. Hmmmm,I use to knw half of a yellow Sun wit green an yellow covers,or did she chnge d cover?

  8. Perhaps the cover varies slightly in different regions of the world. That often happens for marketing purposes or perhaps they just changed the cover. Who knows…but thanks for reading this post Nuella, I appreciate it.

  9. I am reading this book right now, and I am already sad that i am about to finish it. I will definitely buy more of her books, what an amazing writer!

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