[E–pub Download] (Half of a Yellow Sun) AUTHOR Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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 realities In Nigeria those realities were the political divisions that fell largely along ethnic lines a mostly Muslim population in the North dominated by Hausa and Fulani Igbo in the southeast Yoruba in the southwest Only six 5 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 wit Something of a disappointmentIt 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 cliue centred on the University of Nsukka which provides the core characters of her book Their infidelities their inconsistencies their desire despite the servants for euality and freedom are symptomatic of their time The dissimilar twin sisters Olanna and Kainene one imagines will provide a vehicle for parallel and different lives providing contrast and metaphor and I eagerly awaited their stories to unfoldThe book s sections alternate between the early and late 1960s the latter period in Nigeria of course being the Biafran War And yes the characters live through the war and their lives and their natures and along with them their country are transformed by it Perhaps even their own identity is redrawn especially once the promise of a recognised nationality is promised and then denied Eventually there are vivid scenes of the war s brutality its double standards its compromises its cynicism its racism and its starvation The images are graphic and vivid unforgettable even and the ability of war to undermine utterly and profoundly any assumption that an individual might harbour about an imagined future is movingly portrayedSo why then was I so disappointed with the book All I can offer I m afraid is that eventually I found it shallow Its apparent concentration on the domestic lives of the characters undermined their credibility as members of an intellectual elite and rendered them two or perhaps even one dimensional Chimanada Ngozi Adichie carefully tells us that Odenigbo is a mathematician and in love with his subject He covets his personal library which he loses in the war and then has replaced by a benefactor But in my experience mathematicians are passionate people and are usually passionate about mathematics No mathematician I have ever met avoids all mention of personal academic interests in social settings as scrupulously as Odenigbo I didn t want the novel to become a textbook but if characters were ballet dancers surely we would expect to hear of the roles they had danced and the music that had moved them Of Odenigbo s academic character we hear nothing Why is he therefore endowed with knowledge and interest that is never explored Perhaps he only exists as a character to interact with the twin sisters And the problem is repeated with Richard Churchill who we are told is an Igbo speaking English radical I knew a lot of sixties radicals and they were never slow to offer an opinion or indeed place themselves suarely in a space on the ideological chessboard In Half of a Yellow Sun we never learn if Richard is a Marxist Maoist Leninist or Trot He never mentions Castro or Ho Chi Minh He doesn t appear to have any position on capitalism society business the Third World South Africa Central America or even Viet Nam I found myself wondering which sixties decade saw his radicalisation When Chimanada Ngozi Adichie tells us that he travels to Lagos to attend a function in honour of the state funeral of Winston Churchill perhaps no relation I began to wonder if he was an early or indeed late born radical Tory I have been an expatriate myself so I can forgive him his attendance of the function but not his total silence on the issues of the dayThis becomes especially problematic when both Britain and the Soviet Union are mentioned as assisting the Federal Forces in the destruction of secessionist Biafra What sixties radical given the inevitability of his assumption of a Cold War bifurcated paradigm to underpin his ideological position would not have pondered and discussed this at length even in bedEventually we also have to read along with continued adulation of Ojukwu His Excellency might even be the Great Helmsman himself given that his free thinking minions seem unable to mention a criticism of an historical character who eventually fled to Ivory Coast to save his skin and live his life in relative comfort after leaving millions of his own people dead Perhaps he had to be preserved to fight another day as he eventually did if in a different way but surely no sixties radical would have left his role unuestioned It doesn t ring true and an opportunity to develop a character like Richard through his own and inevitable disillusion was ignoredAnd then we are presented with a pair of American ournalists that the radical Richard has to greet and service in his role as a promoter of the Biafran cause They are both called Charles and apparently have the same nickname Chuck which surely should have been Charlie of the right Variety To Enhance The Farce They Are Simply Not Credible to enhance the farce They are simply not credible can probably accept as deadly accurate that the majority of Americans neither knew where Biafra was nor cared a ot about its plight since the attentions of the politicised were focused elsewhere at the time But the presentation of a pair of foreign correspondents as crass as these is surely incredible as is eually Richard s apparent patience in dealing with themI did also become mildly annoyed at what became uite extensive use of Igbo words when they seemed to offer no extra flavour meaning or understanding I have no problem with the use of local terms to enhance a feeling of place and sound but their over use tends to obfuscate We really wanted to know what these people thought but we were never toldSo what are we left with Half of a Yellow Sun is a beautifully written beautifully composed domestic tale of fidelity infidelity loyalty and opportunism The contrast between the characters and therefore the nation s lives at the start and the end of the decade is engaging But because their psyches are never really explored we never understand any motives or therefore any conseuences Reading Half of a Yellow Sun was a thoroughly enjoyable experience which with hindsight I would have foregone 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 blahOuch My head hurtsOne type of characters I am almost certain to hate are the PERFECT ones And CNA stops ust short of establishing Olanna s idol in a temple and worshiping her We ar 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 ust 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 the second half It was hard to read about the Biafran war The copy of the book I had actually showed pictures of children during the war who had suffered from kwashiorkor It was truly heartbreaking To think so many tribal wars occurred because of colonialists drawing arbitrary borders and also tribal wars occurred because of colonialists drawing arbitrary borders and also one ethnic group over another similar to what happened in Burundi and RwandaThe stories of the five main characters Ugwu Olanna Richard Odenigbo and Kainene were also interesting though some parts were uite reminiscent of a Nollywood Nigerian movie industry movie affairs evil women desperation for babies meddling mothers etcSince a lot of people consider Africa on the whole to be a homogeneous country where everyone speaks African I m hoping books like this will help show people that that s not the case even a country like Nigeria has so many tribes and cultures One uote I really liked was this The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world rather it is that the majority have Not Been Given The Tools To Negotiate been given the tools to negotiate new world A point to ponderAdichie is definitely a wonderful contemporary African writer probably one of the best I ve encountered in recent years I m really excited to read from Adichie She s so young and it s safe to suppose her writing will only get better She did it again And she did it again masterfully While reading this novel I was often thinking of Garc a M ruez s words The worst enemy of politicians is a write. A masterly haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st century daughter of Chinua Achebe” Half of a Yellow Sun re creates 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 With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in

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Half of a Yellow SunWas 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 born yet I have been postponing reading this book for a year now and had I died at that time I would have regretted not experiencing the magical prose of the beautiful outside and inside Adichie Yes Google her picture oh I now refrain inserting images in my reviews as they could hang the screen of my computer and see for yourself She is beautifulI said the story was uninteresting because its backdrop was the secession of Biafra from Nigeria in the 1967 The British left Nigeria in 1960 and it resulted to the alignment of powers anchored in ethnicity social class oil etc and so the Republic of Biafra still an unrecognized state was born On the center of the republic s flag is a rising yellow sun That explains the title as only half of the sun is shown This secession is not as close to my heart as the ones here in Asia including the one here in the country Mindanao on going If you look at the map of the Philippines there is a big island at the southern part of the archipelago It is called Mindanao Since many decades back there is a secessionist movement composed of the Muslim leaders the Moro National Liberation Front based in that island who want to secede Mindanao from the Philippines Reason religion The island is mostly populated by Muslims while the rest of the country is inhabited by Christians with Catholics comprising 85% of themTaiwan on going Taiwan used to be part of Mainland China until the defeat and expulsion of the ruling Kuomintang ROC government by the Communist Party of China in 1949 Tibet on going Tibetan Independence Movement asserts that Tibet has been historically independent from People s Republic of China Tibetan diaspora in countries like India and the United States and by celebrities in the US and Europe support this with the Dalai Lama becoming the symbol of their causeThose who have seceded already but whose stories captured the attention of the world were East Timor secession from Indonesia in 2002 Kashmir from India in 1989 and the expulsion of Singapore from the Malayan Federation in 1965 Since these three happened during my lifetimeI have read many stories about them on newspapers or novels with any of them used as backdropSo you can see that my plate is full already of interesting stories of on going Asian secession movements as well as those that have succeeded already So reading about one in Africa Biafra was not really that interesting for meBut Adichie has magic tricks up her sleeves I would like to think that Adichie s powerful prose can even turn a telephone book into a literary masterpiece Her characters are three or even four dimensional ie they come alive in every page of her book This is a story of 5 individuals all belonging to the ethnic group Igbo that is pro secession One of them is already a British national an intellectual professor Odenigbo The second one is his wife Olanna who studied in England Third is Olanna s her sister Kainene Fourth is Kainene s husband Richard who is a still a British national but studying Igbo arts However my favorite is the fifth major character the 13 yo houseboy Ugwu not only because he seems to be the character that holds the story together but he seems to be the one that truly represents the Biafran innocent and clueless but governed by his traditional values and what little knowledge of the world and politics he had at the beginning of the story then got caught in the frenzy of killings hopelessness famine and deaths during the secession He also got caught by the resulting transformations of the other four main characters as the secession brought out the best but mostly worst of their charactersIn terms of its theme this book may have some similarities with Chinua Achebe s Things Fall Apart or Richard Koch s The Year of Living Dangerously as both are stories of people caught and struggling with themselves amidst the change in the political power However Adichie s storytelling makes all the difference Her narration is flawless enchanting interesting and arresting I was able to relate to her milieu because Africa and Asia have many similarities including the social strata of people particularly in the provinces This book really surprised me Two years ago when I saw this book on the shelves of Fullybooked I said to myself Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Who is this author and I had second thought of buying the book The only reason why I had to was that this is a 1001 bookNow if somebody would ask me who is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I would have this to say Magic She is this African author who writes like she has magical powers And her work deserves to be in that listI should go and look for her Purple Hibiscus It came to me as an epiphany as I barreled through the last few Pages Of This Book of this book 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 criticism As if that s what mattersSomewhere at this very moment there may be a terror stricken weeping child fleeing to find cover unaware of what she is running from unaware of the finality of death shielded by the caprices of the same history she is living perhaps Someday she may grow up well to become another Chimamanda to write the story which is hers to tell and time circumstances and health permitting I am going to be reading that book and be reminded of the umpteenth war that not even my generation of enlightened Nobel peace prize winning heads of state "did enough to prevent the damage that could have been preempted and "enough to prevent the damage that could have been preempted and children who could have grown up to carry the weight of civilization some day but didn tThe farce of this relentless cycle of mayhem killing pillage rape and starvation will hit us time and again and yet leaders of the first world will continue to look dapper in their crisp suits and appear dignified while ustifying their sale of high tech weapons to warring parties because revenue is to be earned from the spilling of blood For the sake of self made demarcations for the sake of that ridiculous nonentity called national pride for the sake of righting wrongs done in the past we ll bury our children and future in mass graves and commit wrongsThis book deserves 4 stars in my eyes It s not a flawlessly written work with its freuent straying into the territory of melodramatic personal relationships and cliched characterization and Adichie s writing seems to lack polish in places But in no way does that stop this from being a highly important work of fiction that the annals of literature ought to acknowledge with a gleaming appraisal This is the past transcending the barriers of time to appear before us in a surely pale imitation of its true grotesueness This is Adichie leading us to history of a corner of the world we only associate with food programs the UNHCR unstable governments and inexorable ethnic conflicts This is Adichie telling us that history ignored isn t history blotted outI didn t know Biafra at all there are not enough books on Biafra as confirmed by Goodreads and Google Books because only those horrors of war survive oblivion which are fortunate enough to receive the world media s stamp of approval Not all death and devastation caused by civil wars are worthy of the glory of crimes against humanity like Nigeria s smooth war tactic of starving Biafran children with tacit British support wasn t Starvation propelled aid organizations to sneak fly food into Biafra at night since both sides could not agree on routes Starvation aided the careers of photographers And starvation made the International Red Cross call Biafra its gravest emergency since the Second World War But there was a Biafra Not the transient existence of the nation represented by half of a yellow sun but the reality of the people who in the paroxysms of misguided idealism picked the losing side in a war Chimamanda S Olanna Ugwu s Olanna Ugwu Richard all of whom weave their way in and out of manifold conflicts of morality identity and survival serve as our guides in this landscape of kwashiorkor plagued children with pot bellies while trying to make sense of the muddle of mutual Hausa Yoruba Igbo animosity And along with them the reader navigates the maze of wartime barbarity political allegiances and interpersonal relationships with a growing sense of unease and uncertainty who are the ones truly responsible who are the perpetrators who are the victims what was the war for and what did it achieve Grief was the celebration of love those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved But it was not grief that Olanna felt it was greater than grief It was stranger than grief In the end any such attempt at such neat compartmentalization makes little difference to the truth of lives destroyed in a fit of murderous passion In all likelihood there will be Biafras and Srebrenicas and Rwanda Burundis and Syrias and Gazas as there will be the burden of future tragedy and loss to be borne by hapless survivors But there s the small assurance that there will be the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies of the world to give a human face to the solemn formality of statistics every time. Tested as are their loyalties to one another Epic ambitious and triumphantly realized Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility about the end of colonialism about ethnic allegiances about class and race and the ways in which love can complicate them all Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place bringing us one of the most powerful dramatic and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever ha. ,

R 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 badlyHalf of a Yellow Sun related with Biafran flag look the photo is a story about birth and short life of Biafra life that ended in one of the worst possible way while the world was silent when they died Before reading this book I didn t know much about Biafra I didn t even know it was an independent country blush I should know that For me Biafra was a synonym for starvation for hunger misery I was always picturing children with huge bellies and limbs like toothpicks Now I know the word for that kwashiorkor difficult word isn t itEverything started 1960 when Nigeria independence from British colonialism few years later there was a coup d tat led by Igbo tribe Since Nigeria was the country with many clans ethnic tension started to sparkle between Muslim Hausa and Christian Igbo clans and eventually resulted with ethnic cleansing of Igbos that were living in the north of the country with Muslim majority Because of that atrocity Igbo clan has proclaimed independence of theirs own country named after Biafran Bay in the southeast of Nigeria the problem was as one of the characters said was the fact that Biafra has huge oil reserves Few countries have recognized new country however the most powerful ones ie United Kingdom and Soviet Union supported Nigeria with military supplies and after three years 1967 1970 the war of Biafra secession ended in a humanitarian catastrophe as Nigerian blockades stopped all supplies military and civilian alike from entering the region Hundreds of thousands perhaps millions people died in the resulting famineThe story has been told through the lives of three very different people Ugwu13 year old boy from some remote village who is starting to work as a houseboy in the house of university professor with revolutionary aspirations Ugwu is a magnificent source of Nigerian African folklore and mythology His superstitious ness is beautiful pure and incredibly authentic Being uneducated his provincialism and thinking of everything authentically African as inferior comparing with everything British is very strong I sound as if I m ustifying his attitude with that being uneducated well it s really hard dislike UgwuOlanna young women with university diploma from London member of Nigerian aristocracy who rejected privileged life and follow her heart Strong modern enthusiastic woman with strong vision of her future life liberated from the chains of her family s expectationsThird one is Richard man I identified myself with He s an Englishman who came in Nigeria because he fell in love with the ancient piece of local art I think I could do the same Man who being white has had to put much effort to prove himself as true Biafran and was doing this in the best possible wayWhat I especially like is that all three main characters are real humans they are not flawless On the contrary they are making horrible mistakes which might be even unforgivable under different circumstancesBut this is not only story about the war War with its horror is scenery for the story of love loyalty friendship betrayal forgiveness about fight and survival It is very universal story placed in one precise historical contextTruth some of the scenes are so graphically described that I had to close the book and take a deep breath before continue But of course why should she use euphemism for truth In spite that this is really page turner I was little afraid after warning from the back cover I wasted last fifty pages reading them far too greedily and fast because I couldn t bear to let go but I ve done the same and of course then reread themThis is one testimony of the things that mustn t be forgotten And oh don t be surprised if you find your eyes filled with tears In spite the fact that last sentence wasn t surprise for me that I expected that I couldn t help myself 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 ust about him The world was silent when we diedThis 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 1970Most of us I suspect do not know about this short lived country Even Wikipedia calls the war between Biafra and Nigeria a civil war thus denying legitimacy to the erstwhile nation even though a number of countries recognised it Since history is always written by the victors the voice of the losers are often submerged in the general background noiseI listened to a talk by the author a very impressive one about the danger of the single story the one that has been foisted on impressive one about the danger of the single story the one that has been foisted on world by the erstwhile colonial powers and called history These are opinions which are taught as facts which tend to show an uncivilised third world and the West s civilising influence This is so much bovine excrement The colonial powers went into Asia and Africa to loot and when the loot was finished exited leaving miserable poverty and the flames of mutual hatred in the minds of people This is the story which is not toldMs Adichie also warns us about the secondary story in the speech that is starting the story from the second chapter ignoring the first Examples are plentiful Palestinians attacking the peaceful state of Israel without mentioning the death and displacement of thousand of Palestinians to create the said country mutual hatred between India and Pakistan without mentioning the hatred fomented by the British which resulted in the partition endemic poverty and tribal violence in Africa without mentioning the years of occupation by the West which created them Up till recently world history was made up of these secondary stories which served as the one story which the former colonial powers wanted to propagateIt is heartening to note that things are changing People Like Chimamanda Are Using like Chimamanda are using most powerful medium available to humans since the dawn of civilisation to bring about that change the medium of the narrative And it is here that the defeated people have an immense power which cannot be suppressedThe world was silent when many died But now it will have to listen as the dead tell their story from beyond the grave As the British colonists left Nigeria they did what they were expert at doing drawing artificial national boundaries and inciting hatred in the minds of the people they ruled So after a period of uneasy calm Nigeria erupted in riots The powerful Hausa people massacred the Igbo minority whom they considered to be enjoying benefits than was due them see anything familiar here and the Igbo declared independence from Nigeria and the state of Biafra was born However Nigeria could not let go of the oil rich south so war was declared In a bitter battle which lasted two and a half years which left a million dead and the country devastated Biafra was subjugated and wiped off the mapMs Adichie passes the harsh white light of history through the prism of individual experience to create overlapping rainbows of narratives In this her style is similar to that of Paul Scott however whereas Scott s narrative is an Indian tapestry where one has to search among the intricate coloured strands to see a pattern or multiple conflicting patterns Chimamanda s work has all the blunt beauty of African art the uncomplicated lines and the simple patterns which makes the medium all but transparent so that the narrator is talking directly to the listener Scenes of utter despair and brutality are described very matter of factly in almost Hemingway esue prose We are all sitting around a metaphorical campfire listening to the author telling her story in uncomplicated proseBut it does not mean that there are no nuances The name Half of a Yellow Sun itself signifies separation a paring the fact that it is a reference to the Biafran flag makes it all the significant One of the three main characters through whose viewpoints we experience the tale Olanna is one of set of fraternal twins Like twins in a fairy tale the sisters are of diametrically opposite natures Olanna is beautiful revolutionary and optimistic while her sister Kainene is plain cynical and pessimistic Of course things are not so simple as they seem and the sisters characters unfurl as the story progresses showing us and layers as the siblings move through their lives facing love hatred betrayal separation and loss against a nation that is slowly coming apart at the seamsAnother character through whose eyes we see the tragedy of Biafra is Richard Churchill Kainene s lover an Englishman who has gone native Richard is interested in Igbo pottery and is ostensibly researching it He is also trying to write a book which never seems to take shape like character from a Kafka story Richard plods on reaching nowhereBut for me the character who holds the novel together is Ugwu houseboy of Odenigbo Olanna s boyfriend As we move across the Nigeria of the early sixties to the Biafra of the late sixties and then again back to a unified Nigeria in 1970 Ugwu grows from child to man in ways than one In the end he becomes Richard s spiritual heir of sorts telling the story of the Igbo people of Nigeria which Richard could never accomplishThe story goes on Magic Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie born 1977 seemed to possess a magic wand that she was able to weave a story that. He turbulence of the decade Thirteen year old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives their ideals are severely.
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