Book of the Week: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Timeless books we all need to read

It is hard to know where to begin with this one. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an extremely talented writer. She conveys the emotions and thoughts of each of her characters in a very real and relatable way; it is impossible to stop reading her stories once you get into them because you feel like you know the characters. Half of a Yellow Sun is a particularly good book that showcases her skills as a writer and the deep emotions she is capable of evoking. 

“Half of a Yellow Sun provides a deeply human perspective into the grey morality that often emerges during times of strife.”

Set primarily in Nsukka, Nigeria during the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967–70), the book follows several characters and tells multiple stories without becoming unwieldy. The primary characters are Olanna, a daughter of a well-connected man, who studied in England and lives with her boyfriend, Odenigbo, the university lecturer; Ugwu, the houseboy of Odenigbo; and Richard, a British man who came to Nigeria to write a book.

Half of a Yellow Sun is based on the real events of the war and while the characters are not real, they are based on real people. The book deals with themes of unity, division, nationalism, colonialism, love, genocide, war, and redemption. Not only does it provide an Igbo perspective on the Nigeria-Biafra War, but it provides a deeply human perspective into the grey morality that often emerges during times of strife. This book is for anyone interested in historical fiction and if you haven’t read a book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, then I recommend you start here.