Friday, August 31, 2007

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Title: Half of a Yellow Sun
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Harper Perennial
First Published:
No. of pages:
UNFINISHED - 5/10 (for the part that I read)

The lives of five characters are caught up in the extraordinary tumult of the
Nigeria during the 1960s. Fifteen-year-old Ugwu is houseboy to Odenigbo, a university professor who sends him to school, and in whose living room Ugwu hears voices full of revolutionary zeal. Odenigbo's beautiful mistress, Olanna, a sociology teacher, is running away from her parents' world of wealth and excess; Kainene, her urbane twin, is taking over their father's business; and Kainene's English lover, Richard, forms a bridge between their two worlds. As we follow these intertwined lives through a military coup, the Biafran secession and the subsequent war, Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise, and intimately, the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place.

I just couldn't finish this book, try as I might - I couldn't get into it at all. Having read Purple Hibiscus earlier in the year, and having been assured that this second offering was much better, I had expected something more, but I found Half of a Yellow Sun to be far too fractured to enjoy it properly. Each time I started getting into the story, the point of view switched to a different character, so I was never on steady ground with any one of them. Then, the story switched from the early 60s to the late 60s, and then back and forth between the two, so I couldn't keep the story straight either - I found it incredibly frustrating.

I was also disappointed that the one character I did want to "hear" (Kainene), was not one of those whose point of view was shown (instead we got her sister - Olanna, the houseboy of her sister's lover -Ugwu, and her own lover - an English man called Richard; none of whom I particularly liked). Not only that, but the relationship-side of the story was sadly predictable and I found myself anticipating events far in advance.

The only elements I did enjoy were the story of the civil war (which was very interesting), and the smattering of Igbo words used throughout - I found the language very beautiful and the way it was integrated into the dialogue was so clever that I found I could easily understand the meaning in the words, even where a translation was not provided. These, however, were not enough to make me persevere and plod through the rest of it and I left the last quarter unread with no curiosity to see how it ended.


Blogger منفردات بلا حدود said...


i read like 150 pages so far

i read about the books that it is excellent one for that i keep on reading

i am from Saudi Arabia

i couldnot believe that i have the book in my hand
i think i will like it anyway

12:01 am  

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