Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Half of a Yellow Sun


Over the weekend I finished ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and wow what a read. I picked it up in the library after seeing it advertised and discussed in various places. I actually had trouble starting it because I was in the mood for something light and fluffy and knew I wouldn’t be getting light and fluffy with this book. Anyway I must be the worst daughter in the world because while visiting my dear mother for the weekend I became so engrossed I could barely mumble ‘Hello’ at times during my visit. OK not quite as bad as that but you get the idea.
The novel details the Nigerian Civil War of the 1960s and follows the lives of three central figures, Olanna, Richard and Ugwu. It details how their lives are affected by the turmoil, going back and forward in time to contrast their experiences. I didn’t know much about the war before reading this and although this book does little in giving you dates, facts and figures etc, what you do get is a wonderful but haunting account of peoples lives during the events.The story is beautifully crafted and as you come to know and love the characters your breath stops when trouble arise, I raced through the end of the book because I just had to know what happened to one of the main characters. I also felt a certain amount of turmoil during reading this with reference to the character of Ugwu. He is a houseboy for the Odenigbo family acting as a different perspective on events. One incident in the book led my feelings towards him to change completely, I couldn’t work out how to deal with the hate, sorrow and sadness I felt for him. I don’t want to say more and spoil it for others but I would be interested to see what other people think! I cannot recommend this book enough. While studying history at university I wrote a dissertation on the Rwandan Genocide and studied colonial literature and this is just another book that brings to my attention the struggles that have, and are, going on in the world. A history of Nigeria can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigeria

1 comment:

kookiejar said...

Hi! We were discussing 'Half of a Yellow Sun' over at the NYT Notable Book Discussion blog. We'd be happy to have your opinion, too. There is a separate section for discussing the book, so you don't have to worry about spoilers.

I don't know how to post a link within a comment, so the only thing I can suggest is for you to go to my blog 'A Fraternity of Dreamers' and click on my sidebar link. If you want.

Good luck with your blogging!