Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie--Book, Film, Music

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 In January, Connie featured Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, recent winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. This was a book I loved as well, and after Connie raved about Adichie’s preceding novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007, I knew I had to read it, too! Find it in print or eBook in our catalog.

 On the heels of her triumph with Americanah, Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, her novel that covers the years of the Nigerian civil war with the seceded Republic of Biafra will soon (May 16, 2014) be released as a feature film in the United States. Though the Nigerian government’s film censorship board will not issue the movie a “certificate,” meaning it has essentially been banned there. Nigerian actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave) plays Odenigbo and Thandie Newton (The Pursuit of Happyness) is Olanna. The film trailer from its debut at the Toronto Film Festival can act as a trailer for the book as well!


There were so many scenes in the book where High Life music was being played and discussed, I decided to see if I could find any in Freegal, and I did! In fact, one of the most famous and beloved of the musicians was Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson. If you are using the Freegal app, just search for the classic High Life song “Sawale” and you will find the album. Stream from there!


 The phrase “half of a yellow sun” refers to the Biafran flag. The Republic of Biafra was an area of Nigeria that seceded in response to political and violent ethnic suppression of the Igbo people concentrated in the southeastern portion of Nigeria. For three years, 1967-1970, a civil war with Nigeria raged, and Biafra was increasingly isolated and basically under siege and blockaded, as most countries did not recognize it as a sovereign state. Ultimately, this created horrendous starvation and some 1-3 million people died during this period, many of them children.

What I love about Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie is how she attaches you to her characters and then subtly and intelligently helps you learn. The June 2006 Publisher’s Weekly described it best, “It's a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing.”

Susie Pasini is Digital Services Librarian at Cook Memorial Public Library District. She reads, watches, and listens across all genres and all formats (print and digital). Often she goes on content binges, the latest being listening and watching old Devo recordings and performances and reading African-born authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (Americanah; Half of a Yellow Sun),  Okey Ndibe (Foreign Gods, Inc. ), and Kwei Quartey (Murder at Cape Three Points). Libraries are her personal passion and professional privilege.


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Guest Saturday, 18 April 2015