reading4years, November 11, 2008 (view all comments by reading4years)
Nigeria's was created as a country by European powers after World War I, "uniting" three disparate groups of people: the Muslim Hausa in the North; Yoruba in the Southwest; and Igbo (or Ibo) in the Southeast. Nigeria gained its independence from the British Empire in 1960. Author Chimamandra Ngozi Adichie portrays the conflict that led to the Igbo declaring their independence as Biafra in 1967, and the ensuing war with Nigeria, through the stories of two Igbo sisters, Olanna and Kainene Ozobia, and their families and household members. The author provides richly detailed descrptions of the land and lives of numerous strata of Nigerian and Biafran society, and the devastation wreaked by the war that resulted in the starvaion of so many Biafrans. Adichi manages to enlighten the reader on everything from what the people ate to international policies that fed the disaster . . . an excellent work.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Random House -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"When the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967 to form the independent nation of Biafra, a bloody, crippling three-year civil war followed. That period in African history is captured with haunting intimacy in this artful page-turner from Nigerian novelist Adichie (Purple Hibiscus). Adichie tells her profoundly gripping story primarily through the eyes and lives of Ugwu, a 13-year-old peasant houseboy who survives conscription into the raggedy Biafran army, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, who are from a wealthy and well-connected family. Tumultuous politics power the plot, and several sections are harrowing, particularly passages depicting the savage butchering of Olanna and Kainene's relatives. But this dramatic, intelligent epic has its lush and sultry side as well: rebellious Olanna is the mistress of Odenigbo, a university professor brimming with anticolonial zeal; business-minded Kainene takes as her lover fair-haired, blue-eyed Richard, a British expatriate come to Nigeria to write a book about Igbo-Ukwu art — and whose relationship with Kainene nearly ruptures when he spends one drunken night with Olanna. This is a transcendent novel of many descriptive triumphs, most notably its depiction of the impact of war's brutalities on peasants and intellectuals alike. It's a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing. (Sept. 15)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Chinua Achebe,
"[H]ere is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers....[Adichie] is fearless..."
by Binyavanga Wainaina, author of Discovering Home,
"Astonishing...fierce and beautifully written....Half of a Yellow Sun is honest and cutting, and always, always human, always loving....[A]mbitious, impeccably researched....Penetrating...epic and confident. Adichie refuses to look away."
by Edmund White,
"When I think of how many European and American writers rehash the themes of suburban adultery or unhappy childhood, I look with awe and envy at this young woman from Africa who is recording the history of her country. She is fortunate — and we, her readers, are even luckier."
by Joyce Carol Oates,
"Vividly written, thrumming with life, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel. In its compassionate intelligence, as in its capacity for intimate portraiture, this novel is a worthy successor to such twentieth-century classics as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River."
by Los Angeles Times,
"With searching insight, compassion and an unexpected yet utterly appropriate touch of wit, Adichie has created an extraordinary book, a worthy addition to the world's great tradition of large-visioned, powerfully realistic novels."
by Janet Maslin, New York Times,
"Although there is nothing ostentatiously writerly about the straightforward style of Half of a Yellow Sun, Ms. Adichie can make a large, resonant gesture when need be."
by Seattle Times,
"Adichie, born seven years after the war, puts a powerfully human face on this sobering story, which is far from over."
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"This book confirms the notion that if you want to understand a country's past, certainly you should read historical and economic texts. If you want to understand its soul, however, read its fiction."
"Adichie's clear-sighted examination reveals how quickly national loyalties, even when rooted in seemingly just causes, can become entangled with self-absorption, denial and even cruelty."
A moving debut story collection centered on Nigerian women, as they build lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, and the burden and strength of love.
"Astonishing. Okparantas narrators render their stories with such strength and intimacy, such lucidity and composure, that in each and every case the truths of their lives detonate deep inside the readers heart, with the power and force of revelation."—Paul Harding
Here are Nigerian women at home and transplanted to the United States, building lives out of longing and hope, faith and doubt, the struggle to stay and the mandate to leave, the burden and strength of love. Here are characters faced with dangerous decisions, children slick with oil from the river, a woman in love with another despite the penalties. Here is a world marked by electricity outages, lush landscapes, folktales, buses that break down and never start up again. Here is a portrait of Nigerians that is surprising, shocking, heartrending, loving, and across social strata, dealing in every kind of change. Here are stories filled with language to make your eyes pause and your throat catch. Happiness, Like Water introduces a true talent, a young writer with a beautiful heart and a capacious imagination.
"Intricate, graceful prose propels Okparantas profoundly moving and illuminating book. I devoured these stories and immediately wanted more. This is an arrival."—NoViolet Bulawayo
"Okparanta's prose is tender, beautiful and evocative. These powerful stories of contemporary Nigeria are told with compassion and a certain sense of humor. What a remarkable new talent."—Chika Unigwe
"A haunting and startlingly original collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerians both at home and in America. Happiness, Like Water is a deeply affecting literary debut, the work of a sure and gifted new writer."—Julie Otsuka
With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professors beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lovers charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olannas willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.