Half of a Yellow Sun

Narrated by: Zainab Jah
Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (791 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A haunting story of love and war from the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists. 

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 listeners say about Half of a Yellow Sun

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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

17 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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Nigerian History

I was never taught Nigerian History by the Nigerian education system. The Nigerian government intentionally avoid any history education, so that Nigerian youths will not start a revolution. I am grateful to the author of this book for giving me information about my history.

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this 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.

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Good Listen

Overall I enjoyed this story. At times it was difficult to understand as it would do flash backs/forwards.

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Great Story

Great storyline.
The plot and climax was well written..However, I was a little disappointed about the ending.

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The writing is superb.

The writing is superb. The narration draws you in and holds you. If you are not Nigerian, it's well worth it on just this being a great work, but story is relevant to contemporary debate on future and direction of the country.