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Half of a Yellow Sun
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About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, Financial Times, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which was the recipient of the Women's Prize for Fiction "Winner of Winners" award; Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck; and the essays We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, both national bestsellers. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Reviews

Nigerian-born Adichie's first novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was short-listed for two other prestigious awards. As one reads Adichie's lyrical descriptions, it becomes clear why she is recognized as a promising new voice in literature. However, as is sometimes the case, the second novel does not merit the same extravagant praise as the first. Set in Nigeria during the turbulent years of the 1960s, this new work follows the stories of twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, their lovers, their family, and others who inhabit their privileged worlds, soon to be transformed by civil war. From the opening page, on which Adichie describes hedges "trimmed so flat on top that they looked like tables wrapped in leaves," the reader is transported to a world so strongly imaged as to feel like a painting. But, disappointingly, the story line is not as well developed as the setting, and the characters fail to emerge fully. Not as great as the sum of its parts; for larger collections only. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]-Caroline Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

When the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967 to form the independent nation of Biafra, a bloody, crippling three-year civil war followed. That period in African history is captured with haunting intimacy in this artful page-turner from Nigerian novelist Adichie (Purple Hibiscus). Adichie tells her profoundly gripping story primarily through the eyes and lives of Ugwu, a 13-year-old peasant houseboy who survives conscription into the raggedy Biafran army, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, who are from a wealthy and well-connected family. Tumultuous politics power the plot, and several sections are harrowing, particularly passages depicting the savage butchering of Olanna and Kainene's relatives. But this dramatic, intelligent epic has its lush and sultry side as well: rebellious Olanna is the mistress of Odenigbo, a university professor brimming with anticolonial zeal; business-minded Kainene takes as her lover fair-haired, blue-eyed Richard, a British expatriate come to Nigeria to write a book about Igbo-Ukwu art-and whose relationship with Kainene nearly ruptures when he spends one drunken night with Olanna. This is a transcendent novel of many descriptive triumphs, most notably its depiction of the impact of war's brutalities on peasants and intellectuals alike. It's a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing. (Sept. 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"A gorgeous, pitiless account of love, violence and betrayal during the Biafran war." --Time"Instantly enthralling. . . . Vivid. . . . Powerful . . . A story whose characters live in a changing wartime atmosphere, doing their best to keep that atmosphere at bay." --The New York Times"Ingenious. . . . [With] searching insight, compassion and an unexpected yet utterly appropriate touch of wit, Adichie has created an extraordinary book." --Los Angeles Times"Brilliant. . . . Adichie entwines love and politics to a degree rarely achieved by novelists. . . . That is what great fiction does-it simultaneously devours and ennobles, and in its freely acknowledged invention comes to be truer than the facts upon which it is built." --Elle

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