Thursday, February 14, 2008

Half of a Yellow Sun


I lucked upon a pristine hardback copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun in the used bookstore not long after its 2006 publication date, but I let it languish on a shelf of unread hardbacks until Sunday afternoon. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down.

Master was a little crazy; he had spent too many years reading books overseas, talked to himself in his office, did not always return greetings, and had too much hair.

Thirteen-year-old village boy Ugwu becomes the houseboy for a Nigerian mathematics professor who hosts political discussions regularly in his home. Ugwu realizes quickly how lucky he is: he gets to sleep in a bed and his master intends to educate him. Before long Olanna, the professor's lover, joins the household and begins teaching at the university. Also on the faculty is Richard, a shy white Englishman enamoured with both Igbo pottery and Olanna's twin sister Kainene. Kainene manages the family's business interests, which include oil.

Through the cycling perspectives of these characters and a non-chronological presentation of events, Adichie depicts the early days of Nigeria's independence, the massacre of thousands of Igbo living in the Muslim north in 1966, and the Biafran War that followed as the Igbo attempt to form their own country. From personal loyalties and estrangements to air raids and famine in the refuge camps, Adichie hones in on the telling details that will keep me mulling over this book for a long time to come.

I'll be seeking out Purple Hibiscus, Adichie's first novel, most definitely.

6 comments:

Maw Books said...

I just heard about this book a couple of weeks ago from my Bookmarks magazine and have since added it to my TBR. It sounds fascinating and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review!

SFP said...

You're most welcome. :)

piksea said...

Great review! The book is very well written and the story was so compelling. It's a shame that I doubt I'll ever be able to pick it back up and finish it.

Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving your comment on my Half of a Yellow Sun post.

Trish said...

I just picked this one up and can't wait to read it. I've heard such great things about it (found this review on Semicolon).

SmallWorld said...

I've got this one on my TBR list, as well. Great review!
SmallWorld

Anush said...

I'm half way through the book, and im completely caught up in their world. I love the attention to detail. It's just so apt the way people's feelings have been portrayed. It's one of those books that makes me wish i had'nt started. Now that i have, i know its going to end. Sigh.