Publisher: Anchor Books
Length: 543 pages
About: Love in African civil war
Style: 3rd person
Is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at a time of the vicious Nigeria- Biafra war in which more than a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood.
Three characters are swept up in the rapidly unfolding political events. Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, is employed as a houseboy for a university lecturer. Olanna, a young, middle-class woman, has
come to live with the professor, abandoning her privileged life in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charismatic idealism of her new lover. Richard is a tall, shy Englishman, in thrall to
Olanna's twin sister Kainene, who refuses to belong to anyone.
They are propelled into events that will pull them apart and bring them together in the most unexpected ways. As Nigerian troops advance and they run for their lives, their ideals - and their
loyalties to each other - are severely tested. This novel is about Africa, about moral responsibility, the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race, and about how love can complicate
all these things.
'We are living in a time of great white evil. They are dehumanizing blacks in South Africa and Rhodesia, they fermented what happened in the Congo, they won't let American blacks vote, they won't
let the Australian Aborigines vote, but the worst of all is what they are doing here. This defence pact is worse than apartheid and segregation, but we dont realize it. They are controlling us from
behind drawn curtains. It is very dangerous.'
Masterfully understated . . . the book takes on an urgent, visceral power . . . . [Over] the course of the book the characters burrow into your marrow and mind, and you come to care for them
The Daily Telegraph (UK), Alistair Sooke, 3/9/2006
Not So Good:
The novel's structure, moving in chunks between the late and early 60s, is not without blips. At times I wondered how far Ugwu's omnivorous reading was reflected in his development. But these are
quibbles in a landmark novel, whose clear, undemonstrative prose can so precisely delineate nuance. There is a rare emotional truth in the sexual scenes, from Ugwu's adolescent forays and the mature
couples' passions, to the ugliness of rape.
The Guardian, Maya Jaggi, 19/8/2006
About the author
Born in the town of Enugu, she grew up in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father was a professor
of statistics at the university, and her mother was the university register.
Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the university's Catholic medical students. At
the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria and moved to the United States for college. After studying communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she transferred to Eastern
Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor's degree from Eastern, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001.
In 2003, she completed a master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts in African studies from Yale University.
Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011-2012 fellowship by the
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
Adichie, who is married, divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the United States.