Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Adichie’s brilliant historical novel follows the fortunes of five characters living through the tumultuous 1960s—a time when the Biafran-Nigerian War raged in southern Africa.
©2006 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
“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.” (Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review)
“Adichie has written an ambitious, astonishing novel that succeeds on all levels.” (Bookmarks Magazine)
Beautiful, ugly, horrifying and to be permanently etched in your head. Should be mandatory for every white person, especially if you've ever thought that something going on too far away from your own world can be scary for just a minute but forgotten before your next meal. Robin Miles does some sort of magic with her reading of this book and the author is to be praised for the amazing job of being able to write something so real. I can't remember the last time I was this impressed with a book.
History comes alive!
I quickly became attached to the complex characters of this novel. I felt I was an intimate witness to their life struggles, traumas and transformations. In the process, I learned about a painful chapter in the history of Biafra/Nigeria. At the centre, the story is about the writing of a book, which examines the complicity of the world community in these terrible events and suggests that personal relationships are intricately tied to international relations.
Robin Miles performed the characters accents beautifully.
Chimananda Ngozi Adichi has written a masterful work of historical fiction. I look forward to reading more of her novels.
I was enthralled by the complex characters and quickly drawn into their lives and how the war affected them before it began, during and after. How I had quickly fallen in love with the strong headed sister who becomes my hero.
I have read this book twice and will happily read it again. From an educational point of view I also learnt a lot about a war I heard of but knew little about.
A great, great read narrated by the wonderful Robin Miles
This beautiful and sad book provided me with an insight into the Biafran/Nigeran war that I was previously ignorant of. The narrator is wonderful - I have listened to many books by her and she is consistantly excellant.
The characters are developed slowly but gradually you gain an insight into their personalities and emotions. The descriptions of the war are heart rendering. I became very attached to the main characters and actually cried at the end of the book.
While this story was set during the war in Nigeria, it had more to do with the characters and their relationships with each other. I was hesitant to listen after reading some of the other reviews. This is not a quick story with something constantly happening or a lot of drama. The author kind of stays in a moment. However, ,I really loved this audiobook. It was very realistic...not sugarcoating the bad or over dramitizing. The more I listened, the more the Nigerian civil war sounded so much like any other civil war and the responses and behavior of the people the same of anyone else put in the same situation. It really illustrated, to me, how very similar we all are in our humanity, no matter our culture or country.
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.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I'm really in awe of this author. Her ability to craft a compelling story against the backdrop of war - even this particular war - is really impressive. More than that, she helped me understand the historical context while delivering a story. That's an achievement.
Like many others who were around during the 60s, my knowledge of Biafra is limited to photos of starving children and pleas for help. I knew nothing about what caused the humanitarian catastrophe - only that it existed. The images are seared in my mind. If someone had handed me an historical tome on this particular civil war, I doubt I ever would have read it. That's where Adichie delivers some magic. Her book brought that whole time to life for me and delivered an ugly history in a way I could understand.
There are times in the book where I was confused as to the sequence of events. The jumping back and forth wasn't always clear. There are also times that the actual writing is a B+ instead of an A. None of that mattered to me. I was completely taken by the whole experience -- diving into Nigerian history, reading about Biafra, examining my own assumptions, and thinking about how vulnerable people can be when superpowers don't do the right thing.
Robin Miles adds a dimension to this book I never would have experienced if I'd read it in print. Her reading is beautiful - artful, nuanced, and completely one with the characters.
I did not know this book would take me through the Nigerian civil war when I bought it. But I am so glad I learned about it through this stunning story of an upper class African family that eventually found themselves on the losing side. The story is well written, beautifully narrated, and delivers the war gently. No clobbering with gruesome gratuitous violence and no battle scenes. This is simply the experience of a few individuals who lived through it. I loved the characters and especially the twin sisters whose difficult relationship is finally healed because of the war.
Half of a Yellow Sun is among my favorite of the audiobooks I've listened to. The on-point narration does an excellent job of subtly underscoring the eloquent narrative. Chimamanda Adichie has masterfully portrayed the complex, human experiences of life and love during the Nigerian civil war.
I'm comparing this book to Gone With the Wind for the way it focuses intensely on a small group of people, through them showing the effects of a ruinous war. The book gives us personal melodramas enacted throughout changing times. Our personal absorption in these characters makes each event of the war all the more shocking. Although it's overly long, the extraneous details are absorbing, thanks to Robin Miles' brilliant narration through which each voice becomes a fully realized character.
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