4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Keenly observed and very engaging,
This review is from: Half of a Yellow Sun (Paperback)Half of a Yellow Sun is an excellent read. Easily my favourite novel this or last year.
Chimamanda has a gift for human observation. Her descriptive style is compelling and the characters sometimes cleverly invite you into their worlds. One often has to remind oneself that the author, being as young as she is, cannot have lived to see as much of life as her work represents.
I understood Odenigbo and Olanna perfectly but found Ugwu a little contrived. This is not to say he is not likeable: Ugwu is, without a doubt, the central character in this rich dramatis personae. He makes you laugh and cry far more than anybody else. Still, it is difficult to believe that an African houseboy - in a continent where labour is cheap and expendable - can occupy such a central part in the life of a family while growing up with little regard for his own future. Richard was the least believable of all. He was, for me, a cartoon character. A shallow Englishman suddenly finding himself a journalist deeply wrapped up in a war which has nothing to do with him takes a greater leap of the imagination than I was capable of making. I liked the detachment of Kainene and the supreme confidence of Madu.
The pages describing the war are clearly where the author had to do the most work. It is difficult to tell that she did not live through the war herself. A novel about a forgotten war written by an authentic Igbo is exactly what was needed - not another paternalistic travelogue/history book from yet another European "discovering" themselves and their writing skills in Africa's turbulent history. Brilliant.
You cannot read this book slowly - it is far too fast-paced for that. I will be looking out for more of Chimamanda's work; she has a superb future ahead of her.
A delightful surprise awaits you at the end. Lovely twist!