Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun is set in the 1960s, before and during the Nigerian-Biafran War.  The novel follows a small group of people — including university professor Odenigbo, his thirteen-year-old servant Ugwu, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene — as the massacres begin and a new nation is formed under the name Biafra.  They are forced to flee their homes, separate from their family and friends, and face the harsh reality that war is not defined by ideals but by violence, starvation, and choices that will haunt them forever.

"The bombing was louder and closer.  The ground pulsed.  She felt nothing.  She was floating away from inside herself.  Another explosion came and the earth vibrated, and one of the naked children crawling after crickets giggled.  Then the explosions stopped and the people around her began to move.  If she had died, if Odenigbo and Baby and Ugwu had died, the bunker would still smell like a freshly tilled farm and the sun would still rise and the crickets would still hop around. The war would continue without them.  Olanna exhaled, filled with a frothy rage.  It was the very sense of being inconsequential that pushed her from extreme fear to extreme fury.  She had to matter.  She would no longer exist limply, waiting to die."

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of three novels — Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah — and one short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck.  Born in Nigeria, she now divides her time between there and the United States.

Published:  2006
Length:  541 pages
Set in:  Nigeria