Divided by War, United by Love.


Publisher: Harper Perennial.

Year of publishing: 2007.

8th Impression: 2016

First published in Great Britain by Fourth Estate in 2006, “Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the heart breaking tales of the civil war that took place in Nigeria which is also known as the Biafran War that stayed on for almost 3 years from 1967 to 1970.

The excruciating horror of the civil war dates back to 1960s in Nigeria and is fictionally narrated through the main protagonists in the book such as Ugwu-a poor village boy who goes to work for Odenigbo-a radical university professor who are soon joined by Olanna living in with Odenigbo followed by Richard –the English writer who falls for Kainene-twin sister of Olanna.

The dynamism of the relationships between these main characters get affected during the civil war as their personal decisions tear them apart yet they find themselves back together due to the love and loyalty they hold for each other.

Through their lives in the civil war, the author attempts to actually tell the story of the Nigerian Civil War that divided many people and left the country torn apart. The history of Nigeria is richly told in a very enriching, heartbreaking yet with a mix of humour in a very beautiful English and off course the readers get introduced to various African words and phrases which makes the book even more an interesting read.

Although Nigerian Civil War is a notable aspect of the book, it also talks a lot about the African politics, the western influence during and post war, about marriages and how women were portrayed and perceived as during the time.

As you read one chapter after another, you actually realize that you feel them and see them in the civil war and somewhere somehow you kind of make a connection with the people then.

In a review by Daily Telegraph, it says, “Over the course of the book the characters burrow into your marrow and mind, and you come to care for them deeply-something that is all too rare when reading the tricksier contemporary novels.”

Daily Mail has this to say about the book, “Heartbreaking, funny, exquisitely written and without doubt, a literary masterpiece and a classic.’

And this is what the Guardian has to say, “ A landmark novel. Adichie brings to history a lucid intelligence and compassion and a heartfelt plea for memory.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba in Anambara State. The book won the most coveted Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007
and is now a major film starring famous stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.

Orange Prize for Fiction is usually given to a female author who writes a full-length original novel in English.

Karma Choden
Reviewed by on April 15th, 2017