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Half of a Yellow Sun

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  79,198 ratings  ·  6,882 reviews
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.

A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21
Hardcover, 433 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by Knopf
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Keith Boswell I think that anyone, whatever age, who reads this book can only be enriched by it.
It will teach you the history of Biafra, a nation of people who…more
I think that anyone, whatever age, who reads this book can only be enriched by it.
It will teach you the history of Biafra, a nation of people who would not go quietly into the night even as they were being relentlessly starved and bombed.
I would recommend this book to any young reader interested in contemporary West African Culture and the idiosyncratic experiences which lie within.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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4.31  · 
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It came to me as an epiphany as I barreled through the last few pages of this book, blanketed in my Sunday evening lethargy, marveling at Adichie's graceful evocation of a forgotten time and place and feeling the embarrassment of having known nothing about the Biafran war, that somewhere in the Gaza strip the maimed bodies of children must lie strewn amidst the debris of their former lives while vicious debates rage on twitter in which people pick a side - Israel or Hamas - to defend from critic ...more
A few months ago I read Chinua Achebe’s autobiography, “There Was a Country”, which depicted Nigeria’s Biafran War (1967-1970). This book also deals with the events before and leading up to the war.

This book was marvelous. The story just flows for the most part and the language used is so evocative. I’m sure people who have visited or lived in Africa will appreciate the descriptions of African life, African mentality, humour, nature and so on.

I have to admit, I much preferred the first half to
K.D. Absolutely
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010)
Shelves: 1001-non-core, race
Magic. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 1977) seemed to possess a magic wand that she was able to weave a story that was not supposed to be interesting for me: an Asian who have not been to Africa except seeing parts of that continent in the movies and reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Adichie turned an “uninteresting” story that speaks lucidly, bravely and beautifully about that tumultuous event that happened in her country Nigeria during the latter part of the 60’s when she was not even ...more
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, nigeria

I protagonisti del film omonimo, Chiwetel Ejiofor e Thandie Newton.

Hanno abolito le province italiane (ma è successo davvero?) e molti hanno protestato, si sono appellati alle grandi differenze tra Pisa e Livorno, o tra Savona e Imperia.

Nel caso dell’Africa, continente non provincia, e caso mai colonia, l’unica differenza che sembriamo in grado di fare è tra Africa del nord e Africa nera o subsahariana.
Per il resto, è una massa unica, è l’Africa: e non gli infiniti paesi e popol
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok

I read only about one-third of this novel. Adichie's (CNA) writing doesn't agree with me at all. And the characters are so flat they should be able to slide under a door trouble-free. The characters don't even bother to play their role with its limited definition. Instead they keep pounding their fists on a table and shouting out what their role is supposed to be: "I am a sardonic bitch.", "I am sooo non-racist you won't even believe it", "blah blah".

Ouch! My head hurts.

One type of characters I
Nandakishore Varma
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nandakishore by: Start typing for auto-complete
"The world was silent when we died."

This casual statement he once heard is used as the title of a book written by one of the characters in this novel, in which Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie chronicles the birth, short and tortured life and death of the State of Biafra: born on the 30th of May, 1967 from Nigeria and forcefully annexed back by the parent state, after a bitter war in which a million died, in January 1970.

Most of us, I suspect, do not know about this short-lived country. Even Wikipedia c
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, africa
Really loved this book.

Some of the characters were a bit bland and boring but it still kept me interested in them.

Loved Igwu. Wish there was a book just about him.

Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Something of a disappointment

It is not often that a novel comes to hand that has been prized, praised and pre-inflated. Half of a Yellow Sun was in that category when I opened it and began to read. And I was captivated immediately. I read the first hundred pages at a pace, delighting in the ease with which the Chimanada Ngozi Adichie used language to draw me into the middle-class clique centred on the University of Nsukka which provides the core characters of her book. Their infidelities, their
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, awarded
She did it again. And she did it (again) masterfully! While reading this novel I was often thinking of García Márquez’s words: ”The worst enemy of politicians is a writer” and I would amplify that with not only of politicians. Now, I’m not sure if Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has had intention to accuse (probably not) but you cannot avoid truth and, as always truth is hurting so badly.

Half of a Yellow Sun (related with Biafran flag, look the photo) is a story about birth and short life of Biafra, li
“At the gates, Biafran soldiers were waving cars through. They looked distinguished in their khaki uniforms, boots shining, half of a yellow sun sewn on their sleeves.”

This story tracks a family as they transition from a position of influence and privilege with large, comfortable homes in Nigeria, to become citizens of the newly formed republic of Biafra. After a slow (to me) beginning, I ended up fascinated by the story, the family, the people on the fringes of the family, the history, the cu
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, i-own-it
First read: February 7-19, 2014
Second read: November 19-23, 2016

Updated Review:
My thoughts on this after reading it a second time didn't change much. If anything, it made me love Adichie even more than I already did. This confirmed that she's absolutely one of my all-time favorite authors. She's so observant and able to convey human emotion in such a relatable way, even when describing experiences I have never come close to experiencing. A wonderfully, heartbreaking story and one of my favorite
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
هل تستطيع الكلمات أن تجعل الحياة أجمل وأكثر إنسانية
رواية عن تفاصيل الحياة والناس في نيجيريا فترة ستينيات القرن العشرين
وكأغلب البلاد الأفريقية تبدو الجوانب السلبية واضحة, الفساد والاستبداد والجهل
ويتعايش التعليم والتطور البطئ بجانب الموروثات القبلية البدائية
بداية الستينيات تبدأ حكايات آجوو الصبي القادم من القرية للعمل في بيت أودينيبو أستاذ الجامعة الثوري
نتعرف على الروابط بين الشخصيات, علاقات الحب, المناقشات السياسية بين الأصدقاء
الاختلاف بين معيشة القرية والمدينة, وحتى الخرافات والعادات السائدة
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing

“If she had died, if Odenigbo and Baby and Ugwu had died, the bunker would still smell like a freshly tilled farm and the sun would still rise and the crickets would still hop around. The war would continue without them. Olanna exhaled, filled with a frothy rage. It was the very sense of being inconsequential that pushed her from extreme fear to extreme fury. She had to matter.”

For the first few pages, this reminded me of a social novel, a novel of manners, like which Adichie demonstrates in Ame
Julie Christine
When Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960, it stood to be one of the most prosperous, productive, and influential nations on the continent. Rich with natural resources, including vast reserves of oil, it possessed an educated middle class and a cultural life that blended multiple ethnic groups, languages and religions in a vast and vibrant collective.

Like many African nations colonized by Europeans, its borders had been drawn with little regard for political and cultural realiti
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
هل سمعت عن جمهورية بيافرا؟ هل نمى إلى علمك شيء عن الحرب الأهلية النيجيرية؟ نعم كان هناك حرب وهناك دعم عربي-مصري بالدرجة الأولى- لأحد الأطراف ودعم اسرائيلي لطرف آخر. قراءة أدب الشعوب القصية سيفتح عينيك على أمور لم تكن تعرفها، ستتعرف على ثقافات وحقب تاريخية لم تكن تعرف أنها وُجدت؛ ستتعلم الكثير.

تطل الحرب بوجهها الأشد بشاعة، ووجهها دائما قبيح، غير أنها أشنع عندما تكون حربا غير متكافئة. فبينما يدفع أحد الأطراف ثمنها عرقا ودماءاً، يضحي بأجلها بقوت أطفاله، بدواء والدته، بهنأة نومه وفناء أحباءه، يعتبره
Finished reading July 03, 2013

Brilliant book - once again.

"The world was silent when many died. But now it will have to listen, as the dead tell their story from beyond the grave."
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes in detail and manages to keep the reader glued to the book. For those who want to understand what the African Renaissance is all about, this is the kind of book that will shed some valuable light on the current challenges being addressed. It is huge, brutal, dangerous and probably nevere
B the BookAddict
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Heather for Recommendation Swap
Shelves: rec-swap, fiction
For my review, I have selected a poem featured very near the end of this devastatingly real and haunting novel. Written by the character Okeoma who apparently is based on the real poet Christopher Okigbo.

The World Was Silent When We Died

Did you see photos in sixty-eight
Of Children with their hair becoming rust:
Sickly patches nestled on those small heads,
Then falling off, like rotten leaves on dust?

Imagine children with arms like toothpicks,
With footballs for bellies and skin stretched thin.
It wa
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book came as somewhat of a revelation to me and also a huge relief. This was after having recently read and been disappointed in: The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – a similarly high profile book lauded with both critical and popular acclaim, also set against a (very broadly speaking) similar backdrop of a war torn country – albeit Afghanistan rather than Nigeria / Biafra.

‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is an extremely well written, very human story and emotionally authentic story told from very dif
Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary novel about a time/place that I know little about except - as the author mentions through one of her characters - as the device used by Western parents to get their children to finish their dinners.

What is amazing about this novel is how Adichie creates a set of characters involved in regular domestic affairs (working, studying, falling in love, being in love, cheating or worried about cheating, finding an identity, growing up, just generally living, etc. etc.) within the conte
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, historical
It would be easy to write a long review about this fascinating book but there are already so many excellent reviews by more able reviewers that I will keep my comments brief.

Although I was aware of the Biafran war and the mass starvation and death that resulted, I never had any understanding of the reasons leading to the birth of Biafra and the aftermath of it's Denise. Through her gentle but effective prose, Adichie has opened my eyes to the role colonialism has had (not just in Nigeria but all
The story of the independence movement for the Biafra region of Nigeria was momentous, and in modern times we would have been much more capable of responding in awareness and support. I remember as a child in an Irish school donating weekly to help the starving people in Biafra without really understanding what was happening.

This story takes the factual situation of the Igbo people in their attempt to establish the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria in 1967 and adds fictional characters and
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ by: Emer
4.5 stars for showing me how uneducated I was (am). Gonna cry now, thank you. Also, men are trash and that is all.

TW - graphic violence, graphic rape, war
“The war would continue without them. Olanna exhaled, filled with the frothy rage. It was the very sense of being inconsequential that pushed her from extreme fear to extreme fury. She had to matter. She would no longer exist limply, waiting to die.”

Half of a Yellow Sun follows the lives of ordinary people in Nigeria during the 1960s; the time just before the Nigeria-Biafra war and during the war itself. It is an unflinching account of the tolls war takes on regular people. We see good peop
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nigerian
Did you see the photos in sixty-eight
Of children with their hair becoming rust:
Sickly patches nestled on those small heads.
Then falling off, like rotten leaves on dust?

_____ _____ _____ _____

I would have been in grade school, or just entering high school. Adolescent discomfiture was the main thing on my mind. What I knew of the larger world came from photojournalism: Life magazine pictures. Those images, it turns out, were permanent: fire hoses turned on in the South; bombs mushrooming above an
How long do you think it would have taken Europe to move past the Middle Ages had there been no crusades or colonialism or any other garroting movement of one culture extending into another and taking back what it sees fit? What explains the disparity between the defeat of Germany and the crushing of Biafra beyond the matters of infrastructure and economic needs of cosmopolitan borders? Why is it that I have childhood memories of eat up, eat up, the children in Africa are starving, and it is onl ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
War cuts across class, gender, race. The privileged Igbo woman. The Igbo houseboy from the village. The white Englishman in love with Igbo art. Three voices for this story, three hearts cut by the grief of a war from which are all somewhat protected: Olanna by her familiy's wealth, Ugwu by the status and resources of his employers, and Richard by his whiteness and foreign-ness. Yet their passions, their attachments, not least for Biafra itself, leave them exposed, vulnerable to the wounds they c ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Gostei mesmo, mesmo muito! Do estilo da autora, de ter ficado a saber muito mais sobre a Nigéria e sobretudo de personagens inesquecíveis. Obrigada, Ana (The Phoenix Flight)! Mesmo!
Opinião em vídeo aqui (a partir do minuto 08:45):
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, africa
The thing about Chimamanda Adichie is, she's so appallingly good. This is the second book I've read by her and both times I'm just, like, the whole way through, I can't believe how fucking good this book is. She's perfectly positioned to be one of the great writers of our time, with her global heritage and global stories - she was born in Nigeria and continues to split her time between there and the US. She is exactly the way novels are going. And she's so good at writing them! We're watching on ...more
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
إذا فهذه إفريقيا (التى ننتمي إليها إسما فقط) , هى إفريقيا التى نادراً ما تقابلها أو تشاهدها أو حتى تسمع عنها .

إفريقيا الساحرة , حقا إنها لساحرة , فهى المجتمع الغامض , الجامع لشتى الحضارات والثقافات والثروات الغنية فى خليط ممتع, ولسؤال الأهم , هل يستطيع عمل أدبى ما فى تقديم ذلك السحر ؟ هذا ما ستقابله فى هذا العمل الفريد.

ببساطة : نيجيريا الستينات , بطائفيتها القبيحة المدمرة السافكة للدماء .
رواية واقعية (حقيقية) ليس فقط الانتماء لفن الواقعية كنوع روائى ما , بل هى الواقعية الحية التى تضعك فى قلب ال
Sally Howes
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is a very important and very readable postcolonial novel. Centering on the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967-70, it has a lot to teach both about postcolonial Nigeria and about the art and import of storytelling.

Language is a central concern in this book, including the occasional tongue-in-cheek play on words, such as Richard being (emotionally) "stirred" by a ropework pot. I got the sense that the author was almost deliberately deceptive in the simplicity of her language, covering
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria.

Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won t
“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.” 743 likes
“This was love: a string of coincidences that gathered significance and became miracles.” 384 likes
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