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“Half of a Yellow Sun” – A Classic of The 21st Century

I read a wonderful book called “Half of A Yellow Sun” by a Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for my English course. Reading it was a great experience in the mist of school books and no time. I got also a good grade of the essays I wrote in our English exam about the books. I wrote three essays in the exam (you can imagine how we had to hurry).

“Half of a Yellow Sun” is based on the three-year Biafran war in Nigeria in the 1960s. The story has been written from the point of view of three persons (the narrator changes in every chapter) Olanna, Richard and Ugwu. Olanna is a young woman, who abandons her life of privilege to live with her lover, the professor Odenigbo. Ugwu is a houseboy from a poor village, who works for the professor. The third one, Richard is a white Englishman, who is desperately in love with Olanna’s twin sister. When the horrifying war starts, will their lives change forever in ways that they never expected…

Biafra: a secessionist state in the south-eastern part of Nigeria that existed from May 1967 to January 1970. Its inhabitants were mostly Igbo people (an ethnic group) who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. The creation of the new country was one of the complex causes for the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War. After two-and-a-half years of war, during which a million civilians had died in fighting and from famine, Biafran forces agreed to a ceasefire with the Nigerian Federal Military Government (FMG), and Biafra was reintegrated into Nigeria.

One essay of the three (154 words): “Half of a Yellow Sun” wasn’t my first book, I’ve read in English, but it certainly was the thickest with its 433 pages. Reading books in English is like reading any book, because English could almost be my second mother tongue. Still, reading in a foreign language is always useful and it broadens your vocabulary. You can’t learn a language unless you constantly develop it by speaking , hearing, and listening to it.

I’m very happy for having read this book, because I’m interested in the country which this book is based on. The book gave me a whole new perspective of Nigeria’s history. I also think that the book was a masterpiece and the press seems to agree with me.

Hopefully, when I have time to read, I’ll start reading more books in English and especially novels based on true events. This experience definitely encourages me to widen my selection of books in the future.

To Conclude:

“Half of a Yellow Sun” is a genius book. I’m not afraid to praise it as a Classic of the 21st century. Adichie truly can create wonders with the simplicity of English words. The feelings of the protagonists and events are carefully explained with a passion. The horrors of the war cause cold ripples to our spine. In this book also a order matters. The book has been divided to three parts, and it’s very important to read them in an order (like you wouldn’t :p). That gives a great feeling to the book.

This book is also based on real life events, so you can actually spot some history in there. And if you don’t know much about Nigeria, this can be one way to learn something about that country. Nigeria is personally very close to me. A great fictional history preview. I highly recommend this book to everyone! 

I strongly lived with this book as I was reading it, and that is a sign of an awesome book.

My Dear December, it’s soon going to be Christmas. Let us praise; our savior has born once again! And soon this wonderful year has come to and end.

You take me where I’ve never been
You make my heart go ting-a-ling-a-ling

HmusicK

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3 responses

  1. The scars from that war are still etched in the hearts and minds of those who lived through it; many who are still alive to this day.

    I’ve not read the book but i’ve listened to first-hand accounts of the horrors of the war.

    Is it also a coincidence that just last week the leader of the then Biafran State passed on? His demise opened up some old wounds, especially on those who experienced the war first-hand. But it also brings a closure to the possibility of him ever leading such a move to secede again.

    08/12/2011 at 9:38 PM

    • I agree with you totally. You really should read this book and you would understand the war maybe even more and from a different perspective.

      New people would come up though and we should be aware. I hope Nigeria can resolve its problems. Problems related to the many ethnic groups and mix of people.

      15/12/2011 at 9:41 PM

  2. spacyzuma

    That novel really touched me. My igbo parents lived through the Biafran war, and it seriously affected them. As a kid, I hated listening to their wartime experiences.

    About the novel, I almost cried at the end. It was so sad that Olanna’s sister got missing, after all she had done to help people.

    You may wanna listen to this awesome speech given by Chimamanda Adichie at TED Talks: http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

    17/01/2012 at 9:55 AM

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