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Extended Audio Sample Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (14,147 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Narrator: Robin Miles Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A masterly, haunting novel from a writer heralded by Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, 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 the three 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. Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place, bringing us one of the most powerful, dramatic, and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever had.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers...She is fearless, or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made.”

    Chinua Achebe

  • “Vividly written, thrumming with life, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel.”

    Joyce Carol Oates

  • “At once historical and eerily current...[Half of a Yellow Sun] speaks through history to our war-racked age.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Searing, beautifully written...[Adichie] creates memorably distinctive characters and shows how the horrors of persecution, massacre, starvation, and war affect their lives.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A novel that uses fiction to its best advantage, telling the story of ordinary people—loving, fallible, passionate, and vulnerable—ineluctably caught in savage circumstances of chaos, breakdown, and violence...Written with unflinching clarity, what Adichie’s novel offers is a compassionate, compelling look at the nearly unfathomable immediacy of war’s effect on people.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Adichie’s fully realized and finely observed characters hook the reader and carry the story through wrenching events to its sorrowful, tragic conclusion...By venturing so fearlessly into complex moral territory, Adichie reveals her talents as a novelist as well as her gifts as a perceptive observer of human behavior.”

    Newsday

  • “A sweeping story that provides both a harrowing history lesson and an engagingly human narrative...Adichie puts a powerfully human face on this sobering story, which is far from over.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Destined to become a classic...This book confirms the notion that if you want to understand a country’s soul, read its fiction.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Adichie uses layers of history, symbol, and myth...[and] uses language with relish. She infuses her English with a robust poetry, and the narrative is cross-woven with Igbo idiom and language.”

    Times (London)

  • “An immense achievement...As well as freshly recreating this nightmarish chapter in her country’s history, she writes about the slow process by which love, if strong enough, may overcome.”

    Observer (London)

  • “A gorgeous, pitiless account of love, violence, and betrayal during the Biafran war.”

    Time

  • “The characters and landscape are vividly painted, and details are often used to heartbreaking effect.”

    New Yorker

  • “Engrossing...[a] deeply insightful portrayal of one of Nigeria’s most traumatic epochs.”

    Nation

  • “[Adichie] wowed us with this transcendent tale about war, loyalty, brutality, and love in modern Africa. While painting a searing portrait of the tragedy that took place in Biafra during the 1960s, her story finds its true heart in the intimacy of three ordinary lives buffeted by the winds of fate. Her tale is hauntingly evocative and impossible to forget.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “This is a transcendent novel of many descriptive triumphs, most notably its depiction of the impact of war’s brutalities on peasants and intellectuals alike. It’s a searing history lesson in fictional form, intensely evocative and immensely absorbing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In this stunning novel of Biafra’s doomed war for independence from Nigeria, Robin Miles brings a complex world and explosive era to vivid life...She never gets lost in a sentence, she never botches an accent or fails to make a character live, and her pacing is perfect. You won’t soon forget it.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Winner of the 2007 Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction
  • A 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2006 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Prasad GR | 2/4/2014

    " As good as 'The Kite Runner' if not better! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sarah Inskeep | 1/29/2014

    " It's absolutely wonderful! Plot twists keep you guessing and the characters are fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tarrigon | 1/27/2014

    " reminder to self, if the story takes place at wartime, it most likely will not be a mood lifter- cathartic possibly but not a mood lifter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sumanya | 1/22/2014

    " a brilliant first novel set in the Nigeria/Biafra during the conflict. Particularly, amazing considering Adichie wasnt even born then. A very poignant account of what armed conflict does to people, families, communities and nations. A must-read. A word of caution though...its tediously long. I would have stopped about 200 pages before Adichie stopped. "

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