Half of a Yellow Sun

The Republic of Biafra had a relatively short life, as did at least a million of its citizens. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s understated novel views the 1967-70 civil war in what’s now Nigeria through the eyes of a handful of intellectuals. While Olanna resists the comforts of the Nigerian upper class she was born into — a job in the finance ministry, a marriage to the son of a tribal chief — to teach sociology and make time with a ”revolutionary lover,” her sister Kainene has a fling with an English journalist who thinks himself a writer. Half of a Yellow Sun isn’t especially vivid — even its glimpses of corpses seem washed out — but it offers a powerful intimacy.

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