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Half of a yellow sun /

Main Author: Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, 1977-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
Edition: 1st North American ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

Adichie surpasses her award-winning debut, Purple Hibiscus (2003), with a magnificent novel in which the dreams and tragedies of 1960s Nigeria are filtered through the minds and experiences of stupendously compelling characters. From page 1, an unbreakable bond is forged between the reader and Ugwu, a bright and kind young teen who has left his barebones village to serve as houseboy to Odenigbo, a robust and radical professor full of hope for newly independent Nigeria in spite of ingrained ethnic divides and colonialism's deleterious aftereffects. Ugwu becomes devoted to Odenigbo's beautiful and cultured lover, Olanna, as Odenigbo's treacherous mother plots against her, and her estranged twin sister, tough and sardonic Kainene, takes up with a gentle Englishman. The momentous psychological and ethical pressures Adichie engineers could support an engrossing novel in their own right, but her great subject is Nigeria's horrific civil war, specifically the fate of Biafra, the doomed breakaway Igbo state. Half a yellow sun is Biafra's emblem of hope, but the horrors and misery Adichie's characters endure transform the promising image of a rising sun into that of a sun setting grimly over a blood-soaked and starving land. Adichie has masterminded a commanding, sensitive epic about a vicious civil war that, for all its particular nightmares, parallels every war predicated by prejudice and stoked by outside powers hungry for oil and influence. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

When the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967 to form the independent nation of Biafra, a bloody, crippling three-year civil war followed. That period in African history is captured with haunting intimacy in this artful page-turner from Nigerian novelist Adichie (Purple Hibiscus). Adichie tells her profoundly gripping story primarily through the eyes and lives of Ugwu, a 13-year-old peasant houseboy who survives conscription into the raggedy Biafran army, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, who are from a wealthy and well-connected family. Tumultuous politics power the plot, and several sections are harrowing, particularly passages depicting the savage butchering of Olanna and Kainene's relatives. But this dramatic, intelligent epic has its lush and sultry side as well: rebellious Olanna is the mistress of Odenigbo, a university professor brimming with anticolonial zeal; business-minded Kainene takes as her lover fair-haired, blue-eyed Richard, a British expatriate come to Nigeria to write a book about Igbo-Ukwu art-and whose relationship with Kainene nearly ruptures when he spends one drunken night with Olanna. This is a transcendent novel of many descriptive triumphs, most notably its depiction of the impact of war's brutalities on peasants and intellectuals alike. It's a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing. (Sept. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

This year's winner of the Orange Broadband Prize is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun (Anchor: Knopf. 2007. ISBN 978-1-4000-9520-9. pap. $14.95). Set in Nigeria in the late 1960s, this lyrically searing novel explores the cost and ramifications of war. As Nigeria is besieged by civil war, Olanna and Kainene, twin sisters from a wealthy family, follow different paths that oddly echo one another. Ugwu, a poor boy conscripted into the Biafran army, acts as a foil to the siblings' story. Collectively, their fates symbolize Nigeria's tragedy, and Adichie pulls no punches in describing the brutality of war and its harrowing effects on those who survive. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.