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Old 06-26-2018, 11:26 PM   #16
Bookworm_Girl
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I have finished the book now, and I really enjoyed it. I thought that it was very engaging, and I felt emotionally invested in the characters. The characters weren't flawless and had varying appeal, but I could empathize with their decisions. I found the history very interesting. I had never heard of Biafra and and was completely ignorant of Nigerian history, other than a shallow understanding of the typical issues seen when colonies gain independence. I expected the issues to be mostly tribal and did not expect the religious separation between North and South.

My minor complaint is that the story at times was too neatly tied together. It seemed that she had a long list of the various aspects of history that she wanted to represent and then made characters for each of these items. I just wondered how much of the people would have seen that great a cross-section of the issues happening to their direct friends and family.
Spoiler:
For example, I was really disappointed in Ugwu's actions in the bar. I think that he had enough character to feel shame, guilt and remorse without having to make his sister go through a similar experience.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:20 AM   #17
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I'm currently a little over 200 pages, which is not as far as I would've liked to be by now but still I'm happy with my progress considering its length, and still enjoying it.

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Have any of you read her most recent novel Americanah? I tried and failed, to finish it last year and I am wondering how Half of a Yellow Sun compares.

I generally love books that deal in African culture as I spent a good deal of time there doing relief work when I was younger. But I had a hard time caring about the characters.
Very interesting; which part(s) of Africa were you in, if you don't mind the asking? This is my first Adichie; I'd heard good things about Americanah but your post gives me pause.

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My minor complaint is that the story at times was too neatly tied together.
I think I can sense something like that even from only the part I've read. I'm enjoying the story and writing regardless, but I do sense sometimes a bit of, for lack of a better way to put it, 'this fits neatly into this box'. For instance, so far with the character of Olanna, she fits a bit neatly into the 'beautiful, nice, sympathetic female protagonist' box. Perhaps this may be challenged later as the story progresses, but regardless it still gives me the sense that Adichie likes these tidy, possibly even archetypal, aspects here and there despite the complexity of the book.
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:11 PM   #18
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Very interesting; which part(s) of Africa were you in, if you don't mind the asking? This is my first Adichie; I'd heard good things about Americanah but your post gives me pause.
I was in Botswana and South Africa primarily. I flew into Zimbabwe but got shot at on the first day there, so got out pretty fast. Alas, because of where I was doing AIDS relief work, I am permanently ineligible to give blood.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:32 PM   #19
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I was in Botswana and South Africa primarily. I flew into Zimbabwe but got shot at on the first day there, so got out pretty fast. Alas, because of where I was doing AIDS relief work, I am permanently ineligible to give blood.
Thanks for the reply, and wow. I hadn't thought Zimbabwe was generally that dangerous, but I'm pretty unfamiliar with it. As for giving blood, it's ironic that helping out in one way disqualifies you from helping out in another.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:28 PM   #20
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I hadn't thought Zimbabwe was generally that dangerous, but I'm pretty unfamiliar with it.
I am sure you might have heard of the downfall of Robert Mugabe earlier this year? He was the general that led their rebellion and eventual overthrow of British rule in the late 70s up to 81. He had been in power since that time. The day I flew in, he was voted out of office but opted not to leave.

The country was suffering 80% unemployment and white farmers (the progeny of the old empire, as it were) were being shot and their farms were being "reclaimed." I am white, and they weren't so much asking if you were a farmer before they shot. I was just in the wrong place at the wront time.

A similar situation is starting to develop in South Africa right now.
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:21 AM   #21
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Ah yes, I read about that, and that reminds me of the insane inflation that had been occurring there as well. I've been hearing about the land reclamation controversy in South Africa and probably heard about the same thing in Zimbabwe before and just didn't remember. I had an acquaintance that travelled around Zimbabwe and some neighbouring countries in the early 2000s and only had good things to say which I'm sure coloured my vague but lasting perception of the country being relatively safe. Being shot at is a terrible welcome; I hope it wasn't too traumatic.

Speaking of differing travel perceptions, someone else I knew travelled around Iran and gushed about how safe they felt and how nice everyone was. Be that as it may and as much as I'd love to see that country among many others, I'd personally feel too unsafe to do the same.
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