Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

1102116So I read this book and now I shall discuss it in this post. So get ready, y’all. Oh my goodness, I’m in a mood. But this should be fun, I promise. Anyway, I read this for multiple reasons: It’s our chosen book for April (my IRL book club), it was a booktube book club choice in March, and Adichie is such a queen of all writers that it was a thing that just had to be done.

Half of a Yellow Sun follows five different protagonists from different walks of life as they navigate the civil unrest/war that occurred in Nigeria during the 1960s and the turmoil following Colonialism. The pov switches back and forth between these five narrators and between the early 60s/late 60s. So basically, character driven African historical fiction.

And there’s a whole lot to love about this book. Seriously, it won many awards and well-deserved accolades. Adichie’s writing speaks for itself. Despite its 500+ pages, I flew through the story with a fervid pace. I cared about each character and needed to know what happened to them. I loved Adichie’s decision to jump between the now and then. To show us the effect of moments that hadn’t yet been divulged to us, the readers. And then to rewind and spill the beans in reverse. So good. And spectacularly effective.

What was a bit of a miss for me was bogging down the story with so many historical facts and figures and events. Sometimes I felt like the characters had a hard time rising above being mere historical vehicles. Instead of being living, breathing people they had a tendency every now and again to feel like dusty relics from a museum tour. That sounds so, so harsh. And it’s not meant to be, really. Some might even really enjoy this aspect. But I’d have preferred a little more subtlety to my story telling. Just a personal preference.

But overall, I loved the book. I still think Americanah is her stronger novel (although I think I’m in the minority there), but Half of a Yellow Sun is not to be missed. Honestly, Adichie can’t write fast enough to satisfy my cravings for the way she tells such a complete and enthralling tale.

Can’t wait to see what my Litwit ladies have to say when we meet later in the month to discuss. I’m nervous because I’m such a delicate Adichie fangirl and can hardly stand to hear a negative thing said, even if it’s coming out of my own mouth!

Happy Monday y’all!!

14 thoughts on “Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  1. Sometimes too many historical facts drags the story down. As much as I like historical fiction, it spoils it for me if there are too many. Some books does it well though. Regardless, this still sounds like an interesting read.

  2. I have this to read as well as Americanah and need to read both before going to hear the author speak at the Hay Festival. I’m nervous now about your comment on the facts and figures aspect since I can’t keep all that in my head.

    • There’s just a lot of stuff going on and discussed about the war. Places and villages to keep straight, a bunch of characters, etc. But it’t not necessarily hard, just kind of meandering at times.

  3. I really liked this one (my first Adichie), although I didn’t love it. I finished it on the train this afternoon and I’ve been composing a blog post in my head ever since, as there is one aspect in particular that I’m having a hard time dealing with. We’ll see if I can sort out my thoughts enough to talk about it coherently.

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