Half of the Yellow Sun focuses on a period of African history that has always interested me, The Biafran war, where an independent state was set up by a group of Nigerians as a way to seperate thenselves from British rule. This lead to a war and by 1970 the state of Biafra collapsed.
Ngozi focuses on three characters and how the war affects them. The first is Ugwu a houseboy to a professor who supports the Biafran cause. Olanna a high society woman with a British education who is dating the professor and Richard, a white Englishman dating Olanna’s sister.
All three have different views of the war and by the end of the novel all three have been shaken by the after effects of the Biafran emergency.
All though heavy handed at times (Ngozi is not a subtle writer), I did enjoy this book and found it compulsive reading. As my knowledge on Biafra was very scant I had to conduct research in order to understand the book a little bit better, it is also worth noting that Ngozi does not only focus on Nigerian politics but includes events that happened in other parts of the world.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a big novel in the traditional sense. Very real and believable character, a complex plot and memorable situations. It also is a very satisfying read.