Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an epic historical fiction novel taking place during the Nigerian Civil War, or Biafran War.
The book’s an enthralling tale about multiple struggles. There’s Nigeria’s endeavor to overcome European colonialism, the armed conflict between Nigeria and the rebel state of Biafra. And like any good story, there is contention among the novel’s characters, particularly between sisters Olanna and Kainene and their male partners, Odenigbo and Richard Churchill.
A story in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s hands is a thing to behold, and Half of a Yellow Sun is a prime example of its creator’s talents.
The plot advances despite occasional flashbacks and background information detailing the politics and events leading up to and shaping the Nigerian Civil War. The book’s characters are real, unique, with varying perspectives and motivations that shift as the novel unfolds. And Adichie drapes over it all Igbo cultures and traditions that elucidate the frictions between characters, Nigeria’s ethnic groups, and post-colonial Africa.
Not often do I read a novel that feels like a masterpiece. While I can’t quite put Half of a Yellow Sun on the level of legendary books such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Toni Morrison’s Beloved, it’s certainly close.
You can get Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie through my Bidwell Hollow store on Bookshop.org.
My rating: 5/5
Memorable Quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
“This is our world, although the people who drew this map decided to put their own land on top of ours. There is no top or bottom, you see.”
“She was used to this, being grabbed by men who walked around in a cloud of cologne-drenched entitlement, with the presumption that, because they were powerful and found her beautiful, they belonged together.”
“He wished his whole village were here, so he could join in the moonlight conversations and quarrels and yet live in Master’s house with its running taps and refrigerator and stove.”
“The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.”
“What will you do with the misery you have chosen? Will you eat misery?”
“Olanna gently placed a pillow beneath her head and sat thinking about how a single act could reverberate over time and space and leave stains that could never be washed off.”
“How much did one know of the true feelings of those who did not have a voice?”
“There are some things that are so unforgivable that they make other things easily forgivable.”
“He was not living his life; life was living him.”
“The rule of Western journalism: One hundred dead black people equal one dead white person.”
“Grief was the celebration of love, those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved.”
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