Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

                Some stories just tell themselves beautifully. Through the despair, hardships, triumph, joy and loss of the characters you begin to see the world in which they exists and the lives in which they are living. I feel like Half of a Yellow Sun tells itself beautifully. Taking place in the 1960’s before, during and after the Civil War in Nigeria, this book introduces you to a wide array of characters from Ugwu the houseboy, to his master Odenigbo, his wealthy girlfriend Olanna, her sister Kainene and Richard, the white man who came to Nigeria to study and falls in love with Kainene. Through these characters we experience the war in its entirety. We see the creation of a new nation, the plight of the refugees, the fear of those watching everything fall to ruins around them and the destruction.
                This may very well be my favorite novel so far by Adichie. Not only were these characters well developed and full of depth but their stories were extremely intriguing. I loved the way simple changes were made depending on which character was the main focus of a chapter. Subtle changes in the text highlighted the relationships between people even though third person was used throughout the novel. Separating the text into four different parts, two in the Early Sixties and two in the Late Sixties really shaped the novel in an interesting way and set the stage for world building. The alternating narratives between the two separate time frames created an interesting plot device that really moved the stories along.

                Reading this story completely unaware of the Nigerian Civil War and the genocide committed was more so than anything very enlightening. The main characters brought to the forefront so much pain that forces you to recognize that the story is rooted in a horrible truth. Adichie’s writing shines in this novel. This novel highlights her storytelling and her ability to provide detail, be informative and moving. I give this novel 5 out of 5 stars. I was totally engrossed in the story from beginning to end. 


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