Half of a Yellow Sun13 Dec 2015
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN betrays Adichie as a younger writer, than the Adichie who wrote AMERICANAH. That may seem like an obvious statement, but what I mean is that Adichie relies more on narrative and literary structures a lot more in YELLOW SUN than in AMERICANAH. In the latter book, Adichie is much more confident in letting her true talents - painting full, familiar, fascinating characters - rather than focusing on revealing plot points. She’s able to show much more through her characters, rather than telling a specific story.
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is most successful in its first 100 pages. This is where Adichie is introducing the main characters of the novel, showing their day-to-day interactions and creating a tablet upon which the rest of the slightly more heavily plotted story will play out. Once the action kicks in, Adichie is still quite successful, but we lose the real pleasures of just sitting with the characters, rather than running around with them as the Biafran war unfolds.
Lest I come off as sounding unimpressed with this book, I should clarify that this is a huge and unequivocal success as a post-colonial literary novel. Adichie is squarely in the tradition of her predecessors like Said, Achebe, Rushdie and others.