Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This highly anticipated novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at the time of a vicious civil war in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood.

The three main characters in the novel are swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. One is a young boy from a poor village who is employed at a university lecturer’s house. The other is a young middle-class woman, Olanna, who has to confront the reality of the massacre of her relatives. And the third is a white man, a writer who lives in Nigeria for no clear reason, and who falls in love with Olanna’s twin sister, a remote and enigmatic character.

As these people’s lives intersect, they have to question their own responses to the unfolding political events. This extraordinary novel is about Africa in a wider sense: about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race; and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

Reviews of Half of a Yellow Sun

  • Praise for HB:

    ‘Heartbreaking, funny, exquisitely written and, without doubt, a literary masterpiece and a classic.’ Daily Mail

    ‘Stunning. It has a ramshackle freedom and exuberant ambition.’ Observer

    ‘I look with awe and envy at this young woman from Africa who is recording the history of her country. She is fortunate – and we, her readers, are even luckier.’ Edmund White

    ‘Vividly written, thrumming with life…a remarkable novel. In its compassionate intelligence as in its capacity for intimate portraiture, this novel is a worthy successor to such twentieth-century classics as Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and V.S. Naipaul’s “A Bend in the River”.’ Joyce Carol Oates

    ‘Rarely have I felt so there, in the middle of all that suffering. I wasted the last fifty pages, reading them far too greedily and fast, because I couldn’t bear to let go…It is a magnificent second novel – and can’t fail to find the readership it deserves and demands.’ Margaret Forster

    ‘Here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.’ Chinua Achebe

    ‘[Deserves] a place alongside such works as Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy and Helen Dunmore’s depiction of the Leningrad blockade, “The Siege”.’ Guardian

    ‘A fresh examination of the ravages of war…a welcome addition to the corpus of African letters.’ Times Literary Supplement