James's Reviews > Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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it was amazing

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 different perspectives of the main characters of the onset, effects and immediate aftermath of the Nigeria / Biafra civil war (1967-70).

The story is told in a very believable way with authentic and real feeling characters, of the futility and pointlessness of war, of the ensuing cruelty, barbarism and the real human cost – very much up close and personal. It’s about how war changes (irrevocably?) the countries involved and the surviving people within those countries. The novel successfully highlights and evokes devastation on both macro and micro levels. There are shocking, sickening and very powerful images herein of the immediate and direct effects of violence, expertly conveyed, which I think will stay with me for a very long time.

Whilst providing a wider perspective on this period of history – importantly the historical side never dominates or overwhelms the central and very human stories providing the basis for this novel.

The strength and power of the narrative contains and strongly conveys the real dramatic power of the events, both big and small, contained and linking the bigger story. It is the way in which the main characters are so strongly defined and contrast so well with each other, and yet their stories effortlessly inter-mesh with each other in an entirely believable and convincing way which is so masterly.

At times poetic, dramatic (never melodramatic) at others prosaic (in a positive way) this is a very well written, well-constructed, unpredictable, absorbing and compelling book which is without doubt a ‘must read’.

To my shame I knew very little about this war and period of Nigerian / Biafran history – I now at least have one fascinating perspective on the disturbing events and aftermath of this period.

Based on the strength of this novel, I will without a doubt be reading this authors ‘Americanah’ and ‘Purple Hibiscus’ – hopefully in the very near future.

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Reading Progress

November 30, 2016 – Started Reading
November 30, 2016 – Shelved
December 8, 2016 –
page 112
25.0% "Really enjoying this - very well written, compelling. (Such a relief after the disappointment of the last book I read - 'The Kite Runner')..."
December 12, 2016 –
page 225
December 21, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Cheryl I'm glad you enjoyed reading this, James.

Dolors Loved this one. Your review makes wish for a re-read. Great, James!

Julie She only gets better and better, with each subsequent book, and in fact with each subsequent read of the same book. Enjoy!

James Julie wrote: "She only gets better and better, with each subsequent book, and in fact with each subsequent read of the same book. Enjoy!"

Just started 'Americanah' - looks like it's going to be another good one. Have you read: 'We should all be feminists'?

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