Set in the 1960s Nigeria, rife with communal discord, Half of a yellow sun traces the lives of 5 people intricately intertwined through love, hate and indifference . Lives that were distanced through prosperity and brought together by the war.
Olanna, the beautiful daughter of a highly influential army contractor, who leaves behind a life of privilege for the man she loves, Odenigbo, a revolutionary professor at the Nsukka University. Kainene, Olanna's twin sister, who is as indifferent as bitter. Richard, A shy Englishman in love with Igbo-ukwu art and Kainene. Ugwu, Odenigbo's uneducated houseboy, for whom the war is a coming-of-age experience.
From the high society of Lagos to the quiet intellect of Nsukka, from the ghettos of Ummunachi to the refugee camps of Orlu, Half of a yellow sun takes you on a shocking journey through the birth of a nation, its fall into a civil war and ultimately peace, which comes at a price. The book explores the myriad human emotions, from love to loss, delight to denial and disbelief to detachment. It takes you through the streets of a war-torn country and its civilians, as they cast aside their personal dignity and belief in a struggle for the survival of their loved ones. It talks about how we draw upon our inner strengths when the eye fails to see what the mind does not fail to register.
The story has a couple of remarkably strong scenes, like the one where the sisters meet during the war and each marvels at how the other has grown, which speak volumes about Chimamanda's ability to take the reader on a journey, just like the rest of the characters.
With a remarkable blend of strong metaphors, vividly expressive adjectives and Igbo influenced english that contributes to the rich narrative, Chimamanda weaves a stunning tale of love, life and war.
A must read!