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Half of a Yellow Sun

Narrated by: Zainab Jah
Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Baileys Prize Best of the Best

Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, this is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written literary masterpiece.

Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna's enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race - and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

©2016 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers." (Chinua Achebe)
"Vividly written, thrumming with life...a remarkable novel. In its compassionate intelligence as in its capacity for intimate portraiture, this novel is a worthy successor to such twentieth-century classics as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and V. S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River." (Joyce Carol Oates)
"[Deserves] a place alongside such works as Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy and Helen Dunmore's depiction of the Leningrad blockade, The Siege." ( The Guardian)
"Heartbreaking, funny, exquisitely written and, without doubt, a literary masterpiece and a classic." ( Daily Mail)
"Stunning. This novel is an immense achievement." ( The Observer)

What listeners say about Half of a Yellow Sun

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  • Alfie
  • 19-11-18

Very well narrated

Good book and very well narrated, I really enjoyed the writing, but these characters were hard to love sometimes

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gustavo
  • 05-05-20

The Best book by Chimamanda that I've read.

Surprising insiders view about this important historical event! Making the world hear what it must

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-12-19

best literary experience of my life.

This book was out of this world amazing. upon finishing I was in disbelief that it ended and I whispered to myself "that was intense." I don't think I'll ever read anything that's better than this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Foxpearl
  • 23-01-19

Devastating and gorgeous

I felt that some of the characters were so real, so relatable, that I cried when the book ended and wanted to immediately reread it. I also felt the shame and guilt of being from the West and knowing nothing about this period of history or much of anything about post-colonial Africa.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kainene
  • 07-08-18

Zainab Jha ....my hero

I tried to watch the movie but zainab’s voice and role play really suited me better!,, And obviously no one could ever be so successful turning a beautiful book into a movie. For example my imagination of Olanna was so strikingly different than the olana in the movie.. Chimamanda is really one of my favorite authors right now. And I really hope zainab jha reads more books on audible I’m in love with her Nigerian accent. Please oh.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dreamer
  • 31-01-18

what a beautiful sad enthralling tale!

what a beautiful sad enthralling tale! I loved this book. it took me a long time to finally buy it- I'd had I was good, but I'm scared of sad stories. Now I'm glad I finally got around to read it. Excellent story telling Ms Adichie!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-10-20

Exceptional, heartfelt and authentic

Chimamanda's writing paired with Zainab Jah's performance created a perfect listening experience. Highly recommended. Exceptional.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-20

civil war

interesting! looking at the war through an eyes of an insider. they are facts that have not been said... educative and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-20

A true page turner

As a fellow African who lived through 1 coup on Ghana the similarities are glaring. The tragedy though is throughout Africa tribal sentiments are still rife. Who knows when we will ever unite!

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  • Laura Silverman
  • 22-08-18

Beautiful story, wonderfully told!

I was very engrossed by this book. I loved how the story shifted between the viewpoint and narrative of three of the main characters and the voice, intonation, accents and entire performance of the narrator was on point.

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  • julie
  • 19-10-17

In my living memory

I remember the terrible pictures of Biafran babies, I had a friend who was a Nigerian Ibo, she had been raised in the UK and I never knew the complexity of the story of those times. A magnificent book heartbreaking and extraordinary in the evil and goodness threaded through societies the world .
I will need to hear it again and again. Brilliantly read.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle K O Oladapo
  • 05-07-18

Intriguing informative read

I started listening to this audiobook forgetting that it had anything to do with the Biafran Civil war and was pleasantly surprised by the sudden change in narrative. It was a captivating read and a good introduction into the the circumstances that led to the war although the book didn’t give a complete unbiased account of what caused the war, it told the story of a tragedy from a family that will remain changed forever. Though it was fiction I’m sure this mirrored someones story.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Benry
  • 14-08-18

A masterpiece

Just about perfect. Adichie writes beautifully with a lightness of touch and a firmness of purpose. The narration by Zainab Jah is excellent. Through her you are there with Olana, Odenigbo, Baby and Ugwu as their comfortable world collapses and they struggle with the vicissitudes of life in newly - and shortly - independent Biafra.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs F.
  • 16-10-17

ezcellent

such a moving story. I didn't know the story of Biafra before and almost wish I didnt now. beautifully written and reaf

17 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs M Manderson
  • 04-08-18

An interesting African perspective

The story starts slowly but gets more intriguing as the chapters unfold. A long read but Chimamanda’s command of the English language is certainly exquisite. She beautifully describes even the smallest scenes and considerations. I was disappointed however, that it was not the voice or accent of a true Nigerian. Whilst it may go unnoticed by many, it lacked the authenticity being a reader of African descent who understands the accent. This is not a criticism of the reader who did do a great job in reading the story overall.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Patricia B.
  • 20-09-18

Interesting story, well written and narrated

I know very little about African history and culture, and this book helped me have a glimpse into that.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-06-18

Brilliant

What a great book. I was gripped. The narrator was excellent and her command of different voices and accents is impressive

3 people found this helpful

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  • VDS
  • 01-06-18

The best book I've read in years

The description was so beautiful that I had to slow down my reading to make sure not a word is missed. I love the story, so rich and full of unexpected turns. I enjoyed learning a period of the Nigerian history.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-07-18

A triumph of storytelling, wonderfully read

I did not want this book to end. A beautiful, heartbreaking, fierce and quiet story, everyone should read it. And Zainab Jah was the perfect storyteller. Certainly the best thing I've listened to on Audible, and one of my favourite books.

6 people found this helpful

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  • N16
  • 15-07-18

The world was silent when we died

A chance encounter with a Nigerian Uber driver led me to this book, his way to educate me on his family's struggle to be Biafran. The story is cleverly told, weaving personal stories through a historical narrative. Read it and weep then realise the struggle is still very much on. Brilliant narration and by the end of it I could speak a few phrases of Igbo to the amusement of my Nigerian colleagues. Abu m onye Biafra.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-05-20

absolutely immersive

amazing narration and storytelling, Chimamanda has a magic way with words. I took a while to get a handle on all the characters but it was worth it as the plot took off.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-04-20

Simply written, but lacking no heart.

A very special and engrossing exploration of a time and place most of us know nothing about.