Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Book of the Month: Half of a Yellow Sun/Die Hälfte der Sonne

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For a very long time, I have wanted to blog about this novel and recommend it to everyone. Here is the text from the official website:

"A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as "the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe," Half of a Yellow Sun recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, and the chilling violence that followed.

With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor's beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna's twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and they must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all."

This text and more about the author, reviews and background of the novel can be found here.

This isn't an easy novel when it comes to content, but it is a deeply satisfying novel, very well written, plausible characters and it fulfils the goal of all good literature, it instructs you about the ways of the world.

The only thing I regret is, that I didn't buy her Purple Hibiscus when I was in London where is was part of the "buy 3 pay 2."

Diesen Roman wollte ich schon sehr lange empfehlen. Mich hinterließ er mit diesem Gefühl tiefster Zufriedenheit, das nur sehr gute Literatur hervorruft.

Im Mittelpunkt der Handlung, die vor dem Hintergrund des Nigerianisch-Biafrischen Krieges stattfindet, stehen Olanna und ihre Zwillingsschwester, beide aus gut-betuchtem Hause. Olanna hat ihre Privilegien aufgegeben, um mit einem Universitätsprofessor zusammenzuziehen, bei dem die zweite Hauptfigur Ugwu als Diener angestellt ist. Die dritte Figur, um die die Erzählung kreist, ist der englische Geliebte ihrer Zwillingsschwester. Diese Figurenkonstellation erlaubt es Adichie, sowohl das intellektuelle wie auch das bäuerliche Biafra/Nigeria darzustellen ebenso wie Kolonialismus und sein Ende. Neben den politischen und ethnischen Konflikten im Makrokosmos, kommt es aber auch zu persönlichen Konflikten im Mikrokosmos, die die Ideale, Loyalität und Liebe der Charaktere auf die Probe stellen.

Ich bedauere nur, dass ich in London nicht den anderen Roman von Adichie, den es dort gerade reduziert gab, gekauft habe.

Hier gibt es noch eine deutsche Rezension zu dem Roman.

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