Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2007 Women's prize for Fiction Winner

2007 Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

       
 

Publisher: Anchor Books

Length: 543 pages

About: Love in African civil war

Style: 3rd person

Where: Nigeria

When: 1967-70

 

 

Publisher’s synopsis:

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.

 

 

 

Extract:

'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.'

 

 

 

Reviews:

Good:

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 deeply. 

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.


 

 

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Ratings

Adventure

 8

Filmability

 8

Historical

 9

Humorous

 1

Intellectuality

 6

Life-changing

 8

Page turner

 7

Readability

 7

Romance

 9

 

Age guide: 18+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books by same author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adaptations:

Film due to be released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© PWF.co.uk

 

 

 

2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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