Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Half of a Yellow Sun 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 159 reviews.
LBanks More than 1 year ago
This book had me on the edge of my seat for much of the story. It's incredible and moving.
Staticman More than 1 year ago
This book hits home . Being a kid that went through the Nigeria / Biafra civil war, the narrations in this book brings back true memory of experiences of that civil war . Two words....... Well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Half of a yellow sun was an amazing book. It is an epic story with a great plot. The story takes place in Nigeria during the Biafran war. The writer uses themes such as loyalty and betrayal, and describes in-detail what each of the character's thoughts and feelings are. I enjoyed seeing how the characters progressed and changed throughout the story. I didn't know much about Nigeria before I read this story, but this story taught me a lot about Nigerian history. Since the author is Nigerian, she wrote the story very realistically, and explained the events that the characters went through as if they had actually happened. I would recommend this book for high school students or adults, because of some of the adult themes that are in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Half of a Yellow Sun was a good book, it took place during the Biafran War and it showed the hardships of moving from place to place because of war and that even high class people had to throw everything they had away and abandon their homes to reach safety. It also showed how people were in the military, and how people were enlisted from the streets and thrown into combat and they just had to deal with it and try not to die. Old and young, it did not matter. Overall I gave this book a 4, it was a good read but a lot of the content was drawn out and boring, where some content was exciting. There could have been a more equal amount of interest in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The blurb caught my attention and the fact that the story is on the Nigerian Civil war I was researching at the time made me go for this book. I am glad I did. This story of the poor Ugwu leaving the life he had known in his home village to work as a house help in Enugu, where he got trapped in the world of educated and refined people whose worlds and past mirror the complexities of Nigeria before, during and after the civil. The writing makes understanding the civil war a lot easier, and gives an insight of the various ethnicities (Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani), especially the major ones, whose squabbling and shortsightedness plunged the land into so much misery that it is yet to fully recover from. The story spans four decades and tells a story of Nigeria that is exemplary. It comes with Disciples of Fortune, and Things Fall Apart as novels I enjoyed this summer. Stories that provide an insight into African life in this manner win my heart deeply.
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
Rich, Tragic, and Beautiful Half of a Yellow Sun takes place in Nigeria during the Nigeria/Biafa civil war. The narrative follows 3 characters: Ugwu, a village boy who is taken in by some politically-inclined academics as a house boy; Olanna, Ugwu's mistress and a rich heiress; and Richard, a British expat who desperately wants to be accepted by the Biafrans as one of them. The stories of these three characters are superbly and tragically woven together on a backdrop of war, racial hatred, and famine. This is one of the most impressive books I've read in quite a while. The characters were so deep that I felt I knew them. The events described had an eerie realism to them that comes from the author's intimate knowledge of the history and people. This is one of those books that makes you feel like every incident described is important and well-planned. This is a story not only of war, but of people--their dreams, their loves, their fears, their strengths and weaknesses. Half of a Yellow Sun is a must-read for anyone interested in international literature.
HuskerGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is a haunting book. It is beautiful in its love story; horrific in its brutality; poignant in its humanity. The writing is superb and the story catches your heart very quickly.
guyrn2 More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant to purchase this book because the story was based during the war. I was expecting a long boring description of the war but wow! it blew me away!I could not put this book down! Nothing was predictable! The reader was just as surprised as the characters in the book when a bomb exploded. Cleverly written! Great plot!
Patito_de_Hule More than 1 year ago
A wonderful novel based on events of the Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970. In May, 1967, after a widespread massacre of Igbos, the Igbos seceded to form the state of Biafra. This novel begins in the early sixties with three closely connected characters Ugwu, Olanna, and Richard and follows their lives and suffering, as well as the intense suffering of the Igbos, through the end of the civil war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible. Very engaging; i felt the joy, anger and hope of the characters. Best West African book i ever read. Learned a thing about the Biafran war in Nigeria. Wow... all these happened not so long ago and no one talks about it. I realized as i read the book, "pidgin english" was not spoken even by the illiterates.... This was not just a great story to enjoy but an educative one. I cannot even decipher the deeper meaning of this book in a half page of review.....
akemilydawn More than 1 year ago
We read this book for an MA-level fiction course, and afterwards I bought my sister a copy for personal reading. Adichie challenges, provokes, and touches her reader through very personal stories of five characters. Adichie lost both grandfathers in the Biafran revolution in Nigeria, and writes her novel to help us remember and to foreground human love. I never found myself bored, never willing to put the book down. I'm not a very "verbal" reader but found myself gasping aloud (much to my fiance's confusion). You will not regret this book, but prepare yourself for an intense experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Half of a Yellow Sun was a great book. It was filled with hope, love, death, and betrayal. It was emotional and hard to think of the things they all had to go through, with moving from home to home, to losing loved ones. Seeing each person's take on the war and how they were each affected by it was a clever idea by the author. It helped set the mood for each chapter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a full and good representation of the early history of Nigeria and of course what led to the rise and fall of the land of 'THE HALF OF A YELLOW SUN', outlining the challenges of a a young republic and the fight for liberation among its own people. Nothing could be more dramatic than the action that unfolds from the uniqueness of the well chosen characters. Not forgetting the Epilogues that follows the sections 'The World Was Silent When We Died'. Chimamanda simply lives beyond her time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After writing a critically acclaimed first novel, it is almost customary to write a dud as a follow-up. Only a few writers succeed in writing a novel better than their first novel Chimamanda Adichie is among the few. Every novelist has a unique story simmering in her (his) head, a story that she feels she must write. Arundhati Roy had ¿The God of Small Things¿, V. S. Naipaul had ¿A House for Mr. Biswas¿, and Chimamanda Adichie had ¿Half of a Yellow Sun¿. ¿This is a book I had to write,¿ Ms. Adichie has said. ¿I have been thinking about this book my whole life.¿ When a writer thinks of a story for years, and then sets out to write it with care and passion, the prose flows as heartfelt, and the novel shines. As a result, long after you finish reading this novel, you will feel your mind lit with the light of this powerful, frightening and also deeply moving novel. Written in simple but elegant prose, her style reminded me of the great Indian writer R. K. Narayan: ¿He looked up at the ceiling, so high up, so piercingly white. He closed his eyes and tried to reimagine this spacious room with the alien furniture, but he couldn't. He opened his eyes, overcome by a new wonder, and looked around to make sure it was all real. To think that he would sit on these sofas, polish this slippery-smooth floor, wash these gauzy curtains.¿ And like R. K. Narayan, who was well-known for his short stories, Chimamanda also has written short stories as well. (She has been compared with Chinua Achebe, but I haven¿t read any of Achebe¿s novels.) In Nigeria, in the late 1960s, there was a civil war between the Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, in the state of Biafra. Ethnic cleansing and massacre of Biafrans followed. As a result, Biafrans tried to secede from Nigeria. The half of a yellow sun refers to the emblem of the flag of the state of Biafra. Using this war as the background, the author has written a story involving five central characters: Ugwu, aged 13, who arrives at professor Odenigbo¿s house to work as a houseboy, and Olanna, a beautiful young woman who chooses to become Odenigbo¿s mistress, and Olanna¿s not so lovely twin sister Kainene, who is in love with Richard, an Englishman. Because other reviewers have narrated the story in brief, I do not feel the need to narrate it again. There are beautiful, subtly erotic passages, as well as graphic passages depicting sex and violence and blood-curdling brutality. I have no doubt that similar incidents, as depicted here, did indeed occur in Biafra. But you need to have an iron stomach to be able to read these passages without feeling sick and fearful. I wish to conclude on a cheerful note however, because I really admired this novel, and so here is a passage I wish to quote. Even though it is slightly erotic, I found it quite lovely: ¿But he liked going on errands to her house. They were opportunities to find her bent over, fanning the firewood or chopping ugu leaves for her mother's soup pot, or just sitting outside looking after her younger siblings, her wrapper hanging low enough for him to see the tops of her breasts.¿ This is truly an impressive and memorable novel. It¿s even more impressive and more accomplished than her critically acclaimed first novel, ¿Purple Hibiscus¿. And it is gripping and searing. But it¿s certainly not for the weak-hearted. Also, ¿Half of a Yellow Sun¿ is an apt title but the novel, however, is luminous like a full moon.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the late 1960s civil war devastates the Igbo people who formed the independent nation of Biafra having broken away from Nigeria. Thirteen year old peasant Ugwu has survived so far even being forcfully conscripted into the shabby Biafran army currently he works as a houseboy for Professor Odenigbo.-------------------- At the same time the lad endures life and death, a savage slaughter of the affluent leaves twin sisters Olanna and Kainene without any other family member left alive. Both choose similar paths to safety the only ones available to young orphaned females. Olanna becomes mistress to Professor Odenigbo, who loathes the Europeans for what their occupation has wrought to his homeland Kainene, on the other hands, selects British writer Richard, who is writing a book on the civil war impact on the Igbo, as her protector. Ugwu and Kainene form a relationship, but she becomes outraged when he spends a drunken night with her twin, putting all three at risk.---------------- Readers will feel and ¿see¿ the impact of war on the innocent in this superior historical novel. Using the Biafra civil war of the 1960s as the influence that directly impacts her three prime characters and to a lesser degree the two support players, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie paints a vivid condemnation of war in which peasants below the frey easily become collateral damage and survivability is everything. Readers (except VP Cheney, who would find a connection to 9/11) will appreciate this powerful look at real world surviving.------------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 11 months ago
Amazing book! Was very hard to put down. Even peaked my interest in Nigerian history
presto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the 1960s, leading up to the and through the Nigerian¿Biafra war, Half of a Yellow Sun follows the lives of a small group of the break away nation. The main characters include Olanna and Kainene, twin sisters, well educated the daughters of a wealthy Chief. Both are tall and slender, Olanna is beautiful and caring but Kainene lacks her good looks, and by contrast she is efficient and ruthless. Richard is a young Englishman captivated by Africa, tall and handsome, he falls for Kainene. Odenigbo is a university lecturer and Olanna¿s lover, a passionate revolutionary and supporter of Biafra. Then there is Ugwu, the first character we encounter as the young village boy is on his way to meet Odenigbo and hopefully be employment as his houseboy. Written in the third person, it is however through the perceptions of the main characters that we follow the story, very much through the eyes of Ugwu as well as through Olanna and Richard. Ugwu is only thirteen when he starts as Odenigbo¿s houseboy; part educated but unacquainted with many modern conveniences he proves true to his claim when first meeting Odenigbo: ¿but I learn fast, sah¿. He is loyal and devoted to his master and Olanna when she eventually moves in, and subsequent events prove their love for him. While far from perfect, these main characters have many redeeming features, and as the story unfolds one becomes increasingly drawn to them and soon passionately involved in their lives. Inevitably the story touches on the tragedy of the war, and while it does not involve itself with the actual warfare to any extent, it does touch on the politics of the war and the international response both in terms of arms support and to the suffering in Biafra, and it also highlights the terror of the war and the atrocities carried out; each horrifying in its own way. But this is only ever in as much as is required to lend authenticity to the story. It is a beautiful and outstanding novel, a story of love and loyalty, at times a traumatic story as the ravages of war take their toll, but always a story with hope. As the book draws to its conclusion, as each tries to come to terms with the aftermath it is at times very sad and very moving; but just as we think the book will leave us feeling down, and perhaps feeling that Ugwu has been forgotten by the writer, the very last line is bound to bring a smile to out lips.
gailparis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a story of love, family and class with the backdrop of the Biafra separation movement. The characters are so alive and you see them change both because of personal events (love and loss thereof) and the world around them. An excellent read which also educates (without being pedantic).
wendyrey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Complex well written novel set before and during the Biafran war .Evocative but somehow cold and distant descriptions of the effects of starvation .Yes I know that sounds daft but it seems to present starvation in a cerebral and emotional way but somehow misses the visceral physicality of hunger.Interesting and readable
dawnlovesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a heartbreaking tale through the wrenching events of a country at war and the effects it has on the people involved. i was intrigued by this book from the first to last page. the characters and african culture and landscape were so vivid they practically came to life. what a wonderful and amazing book!
Cariola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With all the glowing reports on this "must read" book, I certainly expected more. Frankly, I had to drag myself through it and kept getting sidetracked by more interesting books. It seems to take forever for anything much to happen; the book could have been just as powerful at 100-150 pages less. The main characters are crafted well and the book presents a strong portrait of the Biafran wars and their effects. But overall, I was rather disappointed.
kambrogi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tale of life in Nigeria during the Biafran war is both historically accurate and personally insightful. Adichie¿s most brilliant move was to balance the tale told through the educated eyes of an upper-class Nigerian woman with the perspective of a bright but undereducated village boy as well as that of a white male British journalist. The people are complex, multi-faceted and diverse, and their communities overlap with each other and many additional communities in Nigeria and England. Ultimately, this picture of the Biafran War, what came before and what came after, is as complicated as it still is in retrospect today. Having interacted with several of those communities myself, I found every last detail as real, and as heartbreaking, as the history deserves.
Gary10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written, plot driven epoch of war torn Nigeria in the 1960s. Weaves together the lives of two twin sisters struggling through a brutal civil war. The characters are full of life, close and vivid.
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Admittedly, it was with trepidation that I selected Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for my personal challenge to read Orange prizewinners. So many of my reading friends raved about this book. When a book is so highly regarded, I worried that it would be too high up on the reading pedestal ¿ and in the end, it would disappoint. Furthermore, when I finally got this book, I scowled (just slightly) at its length ¿ 541 pages. Chunksters (what I consider books over 350 pages) rarely hold my interest. Indeed, I was worried.However, once enveloped in this book, my worries quickly ceased. Half of a Yellow Sun was a book worthy of its praise and its long length. Quite simply, it was an astonishing, gut-wrenching read.Briefly, it¿s the story of the effect of Biafra¿s (in southeastern Nigeria) quest for independence in the late 1960¿s. It¿s also the story of family ¿ both biological and assumed ¿ and how those ties know no bounds. Colorful and unforgettable characters filled each page: Ugwu, the houseboy; Odenigbo, the revolutionary-minded professor; Olanna, Odenigbo¿s beautiful lover and her twin sister, Kainene; and Richard, who is in love with Kainene. The reader was swept into Nigerian cultures and lifestyles. Without a doubt, it was an illuminating read.Adichie did not sugarcoat how war affects civilians. People died, family members went missing, homes destroyed, women raped and children became ill. This book is not for the weak of heart. As a reader, I was torn by my need to take a break from the content and my desire to continue reading because I was so caught up in the story.I highly recommend Half of a Yellow Sun to anyone interested in reading a profound novel about war, family and the effects of nationalism.
susiekessler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
really helped me to understand the Biafran conflict which I vaguely remembered, but only from a child's point of view.