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Publisher's Summary

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 13-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor's beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover's charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna's willful twin sister, Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.

©2017 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This prize-winning author's place in literary history is secured with [ Half of a Yellow Sun], a tribute to her people, the Igbo, who after being massacred in 1966 broke away from Nigeria to create the Republic of Biafra. [But] this novel is not a standard war account: Though we are not sheltered from its horrors, Adichie excels in the way she tells about war.... Her characters' strengths are in their complexity and their flaws.... Throughout the story, Adichie insists on accountability and then forgiveness as the only option for redemption.... By the end, after breaking our hearts, she uses her last sentence to blindside us with a gift. We never see it coming. With it, she offers hope in the future." (Marie-Elena John, Black Issues)
"[It's] hard not to place Adichie alongside a new generation of post-postcolonial writers who, while paying due respect to Achebe (and, for that matter, Kincaid, Naipaul, Gordimer, and Coetzee), are moving beyond them on their own terms.... Adichie's nuanced prose takes great pains to undo the reductive attitudes many in the West harbor toward African people.... And yet Adichie does not rant against the West.... [Criticism] and compassion coexist. She understands that it takes many hands to shape war.... For Adichie, pain unifies us, and it's often that same pain that keeps us from recognizing that unity.... Adichie's novel [has], a narrative humility coupled with an epic ambition.... Are there any easy answers in [ Half of a Yellow Sun]? Certainly not. But Adichie, in the process, asks the hell out of her questions, rendering them in all their haunting, beautiful silence." (Stephen Narains, Harvard Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book, but please have an actual African read it

Important and moving; I learned so much about the history of Nigeria/Biafra. But even I, the whitest white boy, cringed at mispronunciations in this book. Mispronouncing Igbo in THIS novel is inexcusable and embarrassing.

Everyone go read this book; skip the audio

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Good book, sad ending

I didn't know anything about the Nigerian civil war or even that they had one before this book. I didn't realize what kind of story I was getting myself into. I come away with learning about some history. But the last few chapters left me feeling depressed :( I didn't enjoy that aspect, and rarely do I come across a book with a sad ending. I gave 4 stars for the depressing ending. The book was well written. I was throughly engaged and immersed in the story with the characters, I could feel myself being there in the scenes and feeling my emotions as if I were there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Rarely have I been so moved by a family story.

The narration is excellent, and Ms Jah is adept at using subtle voice changes to illustrate a conversation. The story of the family and all the characters is so compelling. I laughed, wept, groaned and felt breathless at times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Little Background Adjustment

This was read beautifully. How does one say it was enjoyed considering the story of a terrible war.
It was unfortunate that the author threw in the ugly American journalists bit when there were actually several journalists of the most noted newspapers...NYTimes, Los Angeles Times, Time/Life,Newsweek who made their homes in Nairobi Kenya and went to Biafra risking their lives to tell the story of this horrible war. They traveled together to Biafra and when Priya Ramrakha, the Time/Life photographer,was shot in a Biafran ambush, these journalists carried him as best they could to safety. He bled to death. I know this to be true as my former husband was one of them. These journalists cared about what was happening in Africa. They tried to communicate the real story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Gives me a better perspective of the Biafran war

It was indeed a great book as it gave me perspective of the Nigerian civil war.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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love it!

Half of a Yellow Sun is a really great book. It gives readers a glimpse into the life of Nigerian people, as well as what people go through when they are targeted by their own government and they have to fight to survive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful writing! Human and touching

Loved the book while reading and listening to it. Although reading it is a true pleasure, listening to the audiobook added a different wonderful dimension to it. Listening to the African sounds and pronunciations and feeling it’s energy is fun and enriching.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing in every way

A true-to-life, behind-the-scenes novel about the Biafran war for independence. Beautifully written, beautifully narrated. I will want to read everything by Ms. Adichie.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fan of Adichie

The elegance of the writing of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie keeps the reader/listener hooked throughout, even when the plot slows or becomes repetitive. The dueling protagonists, twin sisters, create nice balance.

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A Very Captivating Read

I really could not put this book down. It was so captivating and descriptive that I felt like an invisible observer. I did not want to miss one word that I found myself rewinding at several points during my listening. This piece of writing provided a good history lesson and prompted my further research into Nigeria's history.

It evoked several emotions - suspense and fear, amusement, anger, sadness and loss. I truly admire Ms Adichie for her writing skill.

As for the reader, her agility in switching voices to portray the various characters is incredible and extraordinaire.

This is my second novel by this writer. I can't wait to read her other work.