I always wondered what the fuss about Chimamanda was. I had opportunities to read her books, but never did. When I first picked a copy of one of her books to read, I ended up whining about how boring and unappealing the titles were. I tried to figure out story lines to suit the titles, Purple Hibiscus, Half Of A Yellow Sun and the other one, without success.
Last Friday, I decided to read Half Of a Yellow Sun(six years after it was published). I wanted to see what the book was about and try to relate to all the noise people make about Ngozi Adichie. After reading it, all I can say is, she deserves every bit of the hype she gets. I even think she is underrated. With awesome story-telling skills like that?! *sigh
Not to bore or spoil the fun for you, but there’s too much I have to say about the book and my perception of Chimamanda. I would try and refrain from narrating the entire book. You know, I haven’t posted anything here in a while and when friends ask, I say to them, “I have been busy”, but that’s really just a big lie. I’m either too lazy or at loss of what to write about. While reading Half Of A Yellow Sun, I got to the point where I was sure I would write about the book. I think it was inspired by the oyibo boy, Richard, who also had difficulties with finding what to write about.
Half Of A Yellow Sun is a story of twin-sisters, Olanna and Kainene before and after the Nigerian Civil War. It is the story of courage in the face of war. I felt like I was a part of this book, as though I watched the different characters play their role. At some point, it felt like I was watching Ugwu, peep into Olanna’s room while she and Master made love.
I was reluctant about writing this initially, because I thought it would seem as though, it were a review; but I guess the desire to write about it was stronger than the reluctance. Yes, the book is bad(in a good way) like that. Half Of A Yellow Sun also reminds me of a very good friend, Tahir who hails from Borno state and works as a journalist in Abuja. Sometime last year, when we first got talking, he kept going on and on about how much he liked Chimamanda, how he really wanted to meet her and all. Until I read this book, I didn’t understand why. Chimamanda writes beautifully, it’d be hard not to fall in love with her.
She gave very fine details and was unafraid to cross boundaries. I imagined Master’s house as one in the Senior Staff Quarters, University of Benin. I pictured him playing table tennis with other lecturers at the UNIBEN Staff Club. Half Of A Yellow Sun made me feel sympathy, fondness and admiration for ‘Ndigbo’, so much so that I thought to myself, “Maybe it’s actually high time an Igbo person got a chance to lead this nation.” I had to remind myself that the book was fiction.
I have never really taken time out to read about the Nigerian Civil War, but Half Of A Yellow Sun, whether or not I was interested, gave me an idea of what it was like for people across the River Niger, Biafrans as they were called at the time. In the words of Bertrand Russell, “War does not determine who is right, only who is left.”
My favourite character in Half Of A Yellow Sun has to be Kainene. I liked everything about her. Sense of humour, sarcasm, bravery and stubbornness. Unfortunately, she didn’t get back from ‘afia attack’ before Chimamanda’s ink finished.
In the midst of all the on-goings in our nation, Boko Haram insurgence, militancy in the Niger Delta, mob killings, kidnappings, release of Tonto Dikeh’s songs, etc one can only hope that we don’t experience another war. makes me wonder if the other half of that yellow sun would ever rise, when it would rise and how intense it would be, if it does. Kainene said, “O dikata njo, o dikwa mma”, it gets worse before it gets better. I hope sincerely, that this is that darkest hour before dawn for us as a nation.
May the labour of our heroes past never be in vain.
Oghogho Omorotionmwan is a freelance blogger who enjoys gisting, sleeping and surfing the net. She is also very interested in fashion. she is currently a Geology major at the University of Benin, Benin-city. You can also follow her on twitter: @owggee