Half a Yellow Sun


The acclaimed novel, Half a Yellow Sun, is an internationally-renowned book written by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The story tells the tale of the brutal Biafran War that took place in Nigeria from 1967-1970.

The story takes place in the African country of Nigeria during the Nigerian Civil War (which is also known as the Biafran War). The war takes place shortly after the British ended their colonization of Nigeria and gave the nation it's independence. The people of the newly independent land belonged to several different ethnic groups. These ethnic groups included the Fulani, Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo people. Some of these groups wanted to exist independently and not in the large, newly created nation-state. This is the underlying root of the war. The war was considered very destructive and brutal with massive genocide taking place reminiscent of Nazi Germany during World War 2.

Half a Yellow Sun juxtaposes the events taking place during this turbulent time of Nigeria's history from several different characters. These characters include Ugwu, a young impoverished thirteen year old boy, twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, who come from a wealthy family, and Odenigbo, a academic and intellectual known to be highly political.

The characters the book focuses the most on are the twin sisters Olanna and Kainene. The sisters belong to the Igbo ethnic-group and are considered elites. The twin sisters have contrasted in their romantic choices as Olanna falls for Odenigo, the university professor. Meanwhile, Kainene falls in love with Richard an Englishman temporarily staying in Nigeria to conduct a research project. The Baifran War disrupted the lives of elites and peasants alike. The wealthy twin sisters had to endure famine, starvation, unrest, violence, and chaos just as the peasants did.

The reader is presented with several different themes in the book. An important theme being just how low human morality can get during such harsh times of crisis. For instance, Denigration cheats on Olanna with another woman who he has a baby with. Olanna then sleeps with Richard, the lover of her sister Kainene.

Overall, the book is an excellent work and received high accolades from several sources. Some of these sources includes the New York Times and The Guardian. The novel received the Orange Prize for Fiction, which is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary awards. The high-appraise led to a film adaption released in 2013.

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