In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s audacious and vividly-imagined second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, she drew upon her ancestral past to write about the Biafra conflict, which traumatized her country and her family for three years after the Igbo people of eastern Nigeria seceded in 1967.
Adichie’s grandfather died in a refugee camp during the war.
The novel is told from the perspectives of twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, a 13-year-old houseboy and Richard, a British expatriate who is in love with Kainene.
Olanna’s academic boyfriend, who favors secession, is also a key character as Adichie shows the repercussions of postcolonial power struggles on individual lives.
“Adichie’s novel is a tour de force, artistically and intellectually,” notes critic Walton Muyumba, author of The Shadow and the Act. “It is also a serious political novel about love in wartime.”
Adichie’s 2013 novel, Americanah, also ranked high in the poll, but missed out on a spot in the top 12 by one vote. However, Americanah was selected in BBC’s “The Top 10 Books” of 2013, Additionally, Americanah was selected as one of “The 10 Best Books of 2013” by the New York Times.
Americanah won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction) and was shortlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.