Half of a Yellow Sun

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1400095204 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingBooksandMusicwing of Seattle, Washington USA on 1/2/2015
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingBooksandMusicwing from Seattle, Washington USA on Friday, January 02, 2015
This is historical fiction, the history of Nigeria in the 1960's, written in a fictional context.

Very upsetting look at the attempt of Southern Nigeria to become their own country of Biafra after the Muslim Hausa people of Northern Nigeria commit massacres of the Igbo people in the south.
At the point of the massacres I quit reading this book, and any book, for an unprecedented three days. I thought if I want to read about Muslims raping, beheading, beating, hacking to death people I can just open my newspaper. For Nigeria in particular I can look at Boko Haram. That is the extremist group operating in Nigeria currently. They are daily raping, kidnapping and hacking people to death. But they are interchangeable with all the other jihadist groups: ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah etc. Go ahead and take a look at the list of Muslim terrorist organizations, it is huge. And they are operating in most countries of the world at the moment.
I don't absolve Britain of complicity in what happened in Nigeria in the 1960's. Who the hell supplies all the high tech weapons to these terrorists so they can slaughter people who don't agree with them. I also understand American complicity even if only doing nothing. Obviously we did not care to pick a war with Britain. But this supplying weapons and supporting terrorists is incredibly criminal. What are we hoping? That all the indigenous peoples will be slaughtered if we supply both sides with weapons and then we can take all the riches? But why does this author lump Palestine in with places where innocents are being slaughtered? So wrong. The people running "Palestine" (another false entity created by Britain) are Muslim terrorists! They daily try to kill Israelis while Israel tries to help Muslim civilians caught in the middle. Am I going to get a lot of hate mail and angry tirades for saying so? Probably. So be it.
As you can see, every nerve ending was grated upon and I was angry, disgusted and sick. I hate reading about war. And nothing good seems to ever happen in Africa. Give me good news out of Africa, I know there must be some.
The book is well-written and heartbreaking. She includes pictures from Biafra in the late sixties. Babies with their swollen bellies and stick limbs. How can you not cry?? It is the worst thing, a forced starvation of people to "unite" Nigeria. F that!
She also has a secondary line of story in the relationships of Odenigbo and Olanna, and Olanna's twin Kainene and her white lover Richard. Adultery and its destructive force, and how in comparison to war and starvation, it pales. Adultery is another subject I detest and find very depressing.

Journal Entry 2 by wingBooksandMusicwing at Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, February 23, 2015
I am putting this book in the "H" bookring. I know it is serious fare but I hope it finds another reader.

Journal Entry 3 by wingBooksandMusicwing at Seattle, Washington USA on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (2/24/2015 UTC) at Seattle, Washington USA

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Released into the 'H' book box.

Journal Entry 4 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Catching from Iwillrejoice's "H" bookring.

Journal Entry 5 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Tuesday, May 01, 2018

This book came to me from another bookcrosser. I didn’t know anything about the Biafran conflict. I came out feeling as if I’d just lived through the experience. In the beginning of the book, I felt, “Why am I reading this?” and almost gave up. I decided to finish it for two reasons: it fits the 666 reading challenge and it was a 1001 book. I am glad that even though it was slow getting into and the story, based on fact, is horrifying, I decided to finish it.
Adichie writes about the failure of a new state trying to gain independence from Nigeria. She writes about a couple of love stories during war but I felt that she did not need to put in the complications that she did. I felt that is distracted from the story line and made me less sympatric to the characters. She did capture the dreams and hopes and vision of Biafra, so clearly that the reader can feel it.
Nigeria in the 1960s was a society entangled in ethnic troubles and then civil war. The genocide inflicted on the Igbo people is horrible and tragic. Through the war they suffered and starved, eventually bringing Biafra to its knees.
The book was too long and it slowed the pace of reading. I wanted the book to finish, partly because what happened to the people is so horrifying that it was difficult to read about. The long Muslim vs Christian war or battle has had a terrible effect on Nigeria. The fact that what happened with the Muslims killing Christians because they are Christians could have been taken from today’s headlines.
At the time I was reading this book, Nigeria was in the world news. First, Christians were being killed in the country. Second, the president of Nigeria was in the US meeting with our president. I thought it was a timely reading.
The length of the work is one of the few complaints I have. In Adichie’s obsessive need to create the world of Biafra as realistically for the reader as possible, her details can slow the pacing. This is an emotional novel, and she builds the emotions over time. Also, don’t be expecting to laugh – you barely will.

Will send to Perryfran as a surprise RABCK. It is on his wishlist.

Journal Entry 6 by wingbooklady331wing at Cape Coral, Florida USA on Thursday, May 03, 2018

Released 2 yrs ago (5/3/2018 UTC) at Cape Coral, Florida USA

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Enjoy! A wishlist book (surprise) KTM RABCK to Perryfran

Journal Entry 7 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Wednesday, May 09, 2018
Received today along with The Nine Tailors. Thanks for sending these. I'm working on the 1001 book challenge this year and these are both on the list.

This is also No. 4a on the 1001 books you must read before you die list.

Journal Entry 8 by wingperryfranwing at Elk Grove, California USA on Thursday, July 11, 2019
Very powerful and disturbing novel set against the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War and the founding of Biafra in the late 1960s. The title of the book comes from the symbol and flag of Biafra which is half of a yellow sun.

The novel takes place prior to and during the conflict and is told from the perspective of several different people. There is Ugwu, a young boy who is brought as a houseboy into the household of Odenigbo, a professor at Nsukka University, and his significant other, Olanna. Olanna has a twin sister, Kainene, who is very different from Olanna and very outspoken and opinionated. Her boyfriend is Richard Churchill, a white English writer who came to Nigeria to explore Igbo-Ukwu art. The first part of the novel paints a somewhat idyllic setting where Odenigbo's friends congregate at his house to discuss politics and the state of affairs in Nigeria. Then their life in Nigeria deteriorates when the Muslims in Northern Nigeria start to massacre the minorities including the Igbo who they feel control too much of the commerce in the country. The descriptions of these massacres are very brutal and disturbing and they affect many of the family members of Olanna and Odenigbo who are Igbo. A new republic, called Biafra, is then created by the Igbo leading to the Nigerian Civil War. As a result of the conflict, Olanna, Odenigbo, their infant daughter, whom they refer to only as "Baby", and Ugwu are forced to flee Nsukka and finally end up in the refugee town of Umuahia, where they suffer as a result of food shortages and the constant air raids and paranoid atmosphere. The novel shifts in time from the early 1960s to the late 60s and tells of some infidelities between Odenigbo and a servant of his mother and of Olanna and Richard. However, these affairs are later overshadowed by the horrors of the war.

Part of the strategy of the Nigerians was to cut off the food supply to Biafra which resulted in thousands of deaths. I remember when this conflict was occurring, there were often pictures in the news of starving children with extended bellies and bald heads. I never knew until reading this book that this was caused by a lack of protein in the diet and is called kwashiorkor. This book was very enlightening about what happened in Biafra and lays a lot of the blame on England for supplying arms to the Nigerians and on America for standing by and letting this happen. As Richard states to some American reporters in the book, "Power comes with responsibility. Your government knows that people are dying!" Reading about war is always horrific and this novel was very hard to stomach in some places but the writing was powerful and I would definitely recommend it.


Read this as part of the 1001 list challenge for 2019

Journal Entry 9 by wingperryfranwing at Wishlist Tag Game , A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Released 1 yr ago (7/10/2019 UTC) at Wishlist Tag Game , A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases

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Sending to Queen72 as a wishlist tag.

Journal Entry 10 by Queen72 at Hobbs, New Mexico USA on Saturday, July 20, 2019
Picked this one up from the PO today. Thanks for sending it my way!

Journal Entry 11 by Queen72 at Hobbs, New Mexico USA on Wednesday, February 26, 2020
The author’s ability to draw you into the horrors of war was truly jarring and horrific. It’s fascinating and well-written and you really become immersed in the lives of Ugwu, Odenigbo, Olanna and Richard. It’s a story about love, loyalty, and revolution.
I read this for PopSugar’s 2020 reading challenge prompt: A book on a subject you know nothing about (Biafran War).

Journal Entry 12 by Queen72 at Hobbs, New Mexico USA on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Released 4 mos ago (2/26/2020 UTC) at Hobbs, New Mexico USA

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Sending to adrienne10 as part of the USA & Canada Wishlist Tag Game 2020 .

Journal Entry 13 by wingadrienne10wing at Seattle, Washington USA on Saturday, February 29, 2020
Arrived in today's mail. Looks like readers like it a lot! I look forward to reading it!

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