I actually bought this book because I was so impressed with Robin Miles' reading of The Warmth of Other Suns. I had heard good things about Adichie, so it seemed like a good fit. Miles continues to impress. The only drawback of the audiobook is that the book has a strange structure - midway through it has an odd chronological jump that perhaps would make more sense in the print version.
As the characters were being introduced, I kept trying to anticipate their fatal flaws, the thing about them that would lead them to wrong others or some other tragedy. But Adichie masterfully both evokes and evades such stock character tricks. In the end, this is a book without villains (which are my favorite kind). It's a book not about minor cruelties, but about a world gone mad and the way people come together to endure atrocities.
As mentioned above, I love Robin Miles and would like to listen to more of her work. She handles changes in gender, class and regional accent well, making each character distinctly memorable. In the other book, The Warmth of Other Suns, she does marvelous things with American accents. In this book, she does Nigerian and British, as well as speaking occasional Igbo.
This story could not be told in film format. It would end up trite and moralistic, which is precisely the opposite of what makes Adichie's writing so good.
its a chapter in history that need to be known. unforgettable story and characters/
draws you right each character, each compelling and unique,as if they were in your own room
disturbing history but compelling, satisfying and deeply engrossing listen
I was in my middle teens when Biafra was in the headlines--I knew it was in Africa and involved starving children, but that's all. This book is wonderful on so many levels--the history, the politics, the culture and as already mentioned, the complex characterization. It's not just about the atrocities of a war that happened almost 50 years ago, it is relevant to issues we struggle with everyday. The differences of culture, religious values, things we hold as important to ourselves or within our group. The narration is superb--I really can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book.
What I love about Audible.com that is different than going to the library; it's unlikely I would go to the library looking for a book on the history of Nigeria or the civil war of Biafra. Audible offered this book along with several others as a free offering which made me look at it. I am so glad I chose it. It is the same with the $4.95 specials--I consider books I didn't know I wanted to read. Audible has been a true treasure for me since I retired. I wish I had learned about Audible prior to retiring for my twice daily 25 mile commute!!
Pros: Great novel
Cons: A bit of annoyance that the narrator cannot pronounce Igbo language and names correctly - and it is not dialect, its just wrong. She does read English very well.
Learn how to pronounce the Igbo words correctly
Magnificent, Timely, and Educational!!!
Kinana fierce, strong woman, was a favorite character, a person born into wealth who stayed with her people when she could have ran like many did.
Ugwu he was an innocent who turned into a soul haunted by his evil deeds.
I love Adichie's writing. Her prose is beautiful--she often has a turn of phrase that makes me stop and say "Wow!" I know very little about Nigeria, and less about the civil war, so learning about that part of the world, and that part of history was very interesting, especially embedded in a compelling storyline with interesting characters. I am a big fan!
By the way, I have a friend who was concerned that the reader might have an accent that was hard to understand, if they went with a Nigerian, but I had no trouble understanding and enjoyed the flavor that the accent gave to the recording that would be missing by reading the book myself.
This novel is intriguing, powerful, and descriptive.
I would compare this book to _There Was a Country_. Both books focus on the same historical event, and have similar writing styles (story-telling)
Miles does an excellent job with the voices and accents of this diverse set of characters; I was very impressed with the easy distinctions she creates between characters, the power in her voice, and her eloquent way of expressing the text.
I would dine with Kainene, as she is probably the most mysterious and complex character.
I am old enough to remember the tragedy that was Biafra. Told from an Upper Class perspective, this novel is an excellent historical novel, accurately described with nuanced pathos.
The narration is superb, although I can't comment on the accuracy of the dialects.
I gave the novel 4 stars because the relationship between two of the protagonists did not entirely ring true for me.
No. I enjoy listening to books and this story is very well suited for story-telling, but the narrration bothered me.
It gave a clear, sober and compelling insight into a time, a place and the lives of a family. Moving, intelligent, beatiful.
Yes, certainly. I wonder if it is just me, but it bothers me to no end to hear conversations that are supposedly meant to have been conducted entirely in Nigerian rendered in English with an African accent (I can't determine which). Why? Please just read them in English without an accent. They have not been conducted in a language with an accent, but in a perfectly fluent first language.
Thankfully this is not done with for instance Murakami's books, and I have never heard it in other translated work either. It almost made me stop listening and return the book. It has a weird sort of colonial feel to it - the idea that characters who speak together in Nigerian should speak an impoverished and accented language, as if it was not their first language or as if it is not as sofisticated and full a language as English.
Both. Though thankfully the author carefully navigated the emotionally immensity that was the Biafran war and avoids cheapening the seriousness of it.