***** 1/2 Half of a Yellow Sun By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A personal history of 1960s Nigeria.
In 1967 the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria, one of the largest single ethnicities in Africa, broke away from the country to form the independent nation of Biafra. A bloody civil war raged until 1970; an estimated one to three million people died from starvation and illness. This horrific story, defined by violence, ethnic strife, and power politics, is told from the perspectives of three individuals: 13-year-old Ugwu, an intelligent Igbo houseboy from a poor village who works for a revolutionary-minded professor, Odenigbo; Olanna, Odenigbo's beautiful lover from a wealthy, educated Igbo family; and Richard, an idealistic young Englishman who takes up with Kainene, Olanna's enigmatic twin sister. Each character reflects an aspect of Nigeria's tumultuous, bloody history. Knopf. 448 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 1400044162
Minneapolis Star Tribune *****
"Among other things, it is a stealthy and subtle piece of work; it can take the reader some time to realize that the book is destined to become a classic.... This book confirms the notion that if you want to understand a country's past, certainly you should read historical and economic texts. If you want to understand its soul, however, read its fiction." EMILY CARTER ROIPHE
Los Angeles Times **** 1/2
"Between her extensive readings and her family's memories of these events, Adichie clearly has the background and understanding to write such a novel.... With searching insight, compassion, and an unexpected yet utterly appropriate touch of wit, Adichie has created an extraordinary book, a worthy addition to the world's great tradition of large-visioned, powerfully realistic novels." MERLE RUBIN