Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the proud winner of the ‘Best of the Best’ category of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015, UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman.
According to the publisher, the book, 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. The award winning author 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.
Here’s a little something from the book –
Master was a little crazy; he had spent too many years reading books overseas, talked to himself in his office, did not always return greetings, and had too much hair. Ugwu’s aunty said this in a low voice as they walked on the path. “But he is a good man,” she added. “And as long as you work well, you will eat well. You will even eat meat every day.” She stopped to spit; the saliva left her mouth with a sucking sound and landed on the grass.
Ugwu did not believe that anybody, not even this master he was going to live with, ate meat every day. He did not disagree with his aunty, though, because he was too choked with expectation, too busy imagining his new life away from the village. They had been walking for a while now, since they got off the lorry at the motor park, and the afternoon sun burned the back of his neck. But he did not mind. He was prepared to walk hours more in even hotter sun.
He had never seen anything like the streets that appeared after they went past the university gates, streets so smooth and tarred that he itched to lay his cheek down on them. He would never be able to describe to his sister Anulika how the bungalows here were painted the colour of the sky and sat side by side like polite well-dressed men, how the hedges separating them were trimmed so flat on top that they looked like tables wrapped with leaves.
His aunty walked faster, her slippers making slap-slap sounds that echoed in the silent street.
Ugwu wondered if she, too, could feel the coal tar getting hotter underneath, through her thin soles.
They went past a sign, ODIM STREET, and Ugwu mouthed street, as he did whenever he saw an English word that was not too long … Master sat in an armchair, wearing a singlet and a pair of shorts.
He was not sitting upright but slanted, a book covering his face, as though oblivious that he had just asked people in.
“Good afternoon, sah! This is the child,” Ugwu’s aunty said.
Master looked up. His complexion was very dark, like old bark, and the hair that covered his chest and legs was a lustrous, darker shade. He pulled off his glasses. “The child?”
“The houseboy, sah.”
Title: Half of a Yellow Sun
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Price: 1,712 (Hard Cover)
Best Deal: Amazon.in is selling three titles from the author, Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus and Americanah at Rs 1,263/-