Book : Half of A Yellow Sun
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of A Yellow Sun explores what transpired during the civil war between Nigeria-Biafra in the early 1960’s.
Odeningbo is the ‘revolutionary lover’ ,optimistic and opinionated about Nigeria and the world at large. He is highly educated and has a lover-Olanna,whose beauty is as rare as a gem and equally captivating. Both are educated from “abroad/overseas,” they are nearly not “African enough” until the civil war.
Their house boy Ugwu is the epitome of loyalty,he is ready to please his ‘sah’ and ‘mah’. He is woven intricately into their lives that not even the war can break that bond.
The barriers between servant and sah are not evident,sah puts Ugwu in school and opens him up to possibilities because he believes education is for all and gives one a future.
Olanna like many African women who are unable to conceive quickly as per the mother-in-law`s timeline ,faces the cold truth about ‘another woman.’ She discovers that her lover,impregnated a mere ‘village girl”.She can’t seem to get past her betrayal until her Aunt Ifeka tells her,”you must never behave as if your life belongs to a man.Your life belongs to you and you alone…”
The war changes every one even loyal Ugwu,he takes part in a gang rape of a bar girl and deep within he loathes himself . Olanna`s rich parents leave the country because they are afraid of the war but their children choose to stay.
Kainene and Richard. Kainene is Olanna’s twin sister who seemed unruffled by life’s happenings.She happened to life,life never happened to her.In her steel demeanor,she loves Richard-oyinbo-‘white man’ though she will not say it. She is like the master and he the mistress. She manages her rich father’s businesses and knows who to trade with.
Olanna betrays her in cold blood when she has sex with Richard. Both parties are guilty.Richard was blown away by Olanna`s beauty. Everyone referred to her as the beautiful one and Kainene as the plain one with a steel demeanor.
Kainene tells them both,”it’s unforgivable” and a cloth of unforgiveness envelopes her never to go off but the civil war causes the sisters to forgive each other.They had more conversation during the war than happier times. Olanna suddenly enjoyed her sister’s sarcasm and even laughed along.
Olanna finally had a confidant when it came to ‘should I keep the village girl’s baby”, Kainene seemed to think it’s Noble and Olanna kept the baby. She became a mother to baby and loved her so much that she would do anything for her even during the war.
Kainene unbothered,unruffled woman of steel cannot be found,even after the war is over. I personally screamed and almost threw my book away, how could Adichie end the book just like that.How?? Kainene, strong and unruffled by anything was never found and both Olanna and Richard were never the same.
This book is real, compassionate and insightful.
War in any form is bad,tears families apart,causes wounds and leaves them exposed.War makes for strange alliances .War tears nation’s apart,there is nothing good about war.
Adichie weaves a superb book leaving one stunned and with a gruesome picture of what civil war can do to it’s Nationals.
I recommend the novel to anyone who needs to be reminded that starting a war is not a walk in the park .Whoever needs to be reminded to have a little compassion for their neighbors.whoever needs a stern reminder to be loyal to her people and all friendships.
Got my copy from Turn the Page Africa-https://www.facebook.com/TTPAfrica/
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