Friday, April 27, 2007

History was never my forte - all those dates and place names to remember. When you're a student it's difficult to find it all relevant. But...when you get your history lessons through exquisite literature, it's a whole new ball of wax!
I'm just finishing Half of a Yellow Sun by Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I would say that I can't put this book down but I'm sorry to say that it's the book I have by my bed, which dooms it to be read in small increments. That's because, by the time I land in bed with my book, my attention span maxes out at about 10 - 15 minutes!
I really wish I could take a day off to finish reading this beautifully written tale of twin sisters Olanna and Kainene, raised in a well- to- do Igbo family, prepared for lives of leisure which they both eschew. Olanna has her consciousness raised by Odenigbo, the educator and political activist with whom she lives and Kainene, trained to take over the family business disappoints her father by taking up with a white British ex-pat studying Igbo art in Nigeria.
The backdrop for this novel is the devastating 1960's Biafran Civil War, a move for secession that resulted in over 2 million deaths. Told through the eyes of Ugwu, a young house boy for Olanna and Odenigbo, the story of a once idyllic life transformed by war, starvation, and greed will tear you apart. I can't help but make comparisons to the current Iraqi nightmare and wonder what kind of literature will rise from the ashes there.

2 comments:

a fan of your blog said...

This books sounds somewhat reminiscent of "Poisonwood Bible," which is one of my all-time favorite novels. I look forward to reading another such after I read previous books you've recommended. However, right now I'm in the middle of "The Life of Pi." I can't believe I didn't know about this book. It is amazing! And it was recommended to me by a librarian here where I live. LIBRARIANS RULE!!!

Sallyb said...

Dear unknown fan,
All great minds? Poisonwood Bible is also one of my all-time favorites AND I had the opportunity to hear Barbara Kingsolver speak here in Lee County a few years ago when a book of her essays was chosen as the "Sanibel (island) Reads."
Life of Pi was done as a book discussion here a few years ago by one of my co-workers. It didn't sound like it would appeal to me but I may have to change my mind. Thanks.