My Alphabet Reading Challenge - H

Author: Anne

Date Published: Oct 7th 2018, 7:52pm

For H in my alphabet sequence I have chosen “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is a novel set in Nigeria at the time of the Biafran War in the 1960s. This is not a country or a time period I know well so the history and political aspects of the book were enlightening. It is, however, primarily a book about people in a culture which is changing.

The book focusses on a number of people; a young boy employed as a houseboy, a professor, twin daughters from the elite of the tribe and a rather naïve English author. As the story develops a number of themes emerged for me. One was the adoption of Western ideas by some characters and the predominance of more traditional customs by others and the conflict that arose. There is also conflict between the educated young people who want to free their country and those who already hold power and don’t want to share it. Then there are the changes that the war brings including division, death and ultimately famine. At the end there has been change but you are left wondering whether it has been for the better or the worse.

I found that this book didn’t have a huge amount of plot and was rather slow going in places. It was also very serious and had few light moments. It is an excellent piece of writing and I am glad that I have read it but it didn’t truly engage me or thrill me. It reminded me a lot of my C book “Cutting for Stone” and not just because it is also set in Africa. I enjoy a serious novel like this from time to time but I certainly wouldn’t like my whole reading diet to be made up of award winning literary fiction – I enjoy my genre fiction too much.

My book for I is a novel told as a series of linked short stories and is a sort of fantasy.