Thursday, April 4, 2013

Half of a Yellow Sun

Since there will not be any more master pieces from the great Chinua Achebe, I figured it's time to get with the program and hope onto the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie bandwagon. Half of a Yellow Sun just whetted my appetite!

I don't know how I missed this in History Class or maybe it was only taught in Form 5/ Form 6 when I had dropped the subject but I had never NEVER heard of the Biafra War til about a week ago when I picked up my copy of Half of a Yellow Sun for my Easter Break read! (I got this book last year but had never read it lest she didn't leave up to "the 21st century daughter of Chinua Achebe" praise.) Seriously, as far as post-indepence wars go all I knew about were Savimbi, Kabila, Kony, M7 and a few other scattered half recollected wars but the Okujwu led secession of Biafra from Nigeria? Never. I would remember. Or maybe it's now that I have read HoYS which eternally etched those war images (baby heads in calabashes?!?!) on my mind that I think I can never forget.

The war (left to right): The cover of Life that was referred to in the novel (I think), The Biafra territory during the course of the war - kept getting smaller so the lighter the green the older the war, and lastly malnourished kids queuing up for rationed porridge (!!!)

How good is this novel? So good it has over six covers! And a movie adaptation

I want to review this book but I don't think I'd do it justice. Just get a copy you guys and read for yourself (yes, you can borrow mine) and experience that war vicariously through Olanna and Ujwu. I'm not a fan of Richard at all but all the same I was a bit taken back by the casting of Game of Thrones'  Joseph Mawle. I'd pictured someone more conventionally handsome and way more weaker looking... New Girl's Schimdt. Or Chris Evans - before he takes the serum and becomes Captain America ;) (Not really. But definitely someone weaker, like a mummy's boy or something 'cause that Richard was a weasel for the biggest part of the book.)

And of course when I heard the movie was a Hollywood/Nollywood collaboration my first thought was "please let Olanna not be played by Nnaji." No beef towards Nnaji (who ended up being cast as Ms Adebayo), she's a beauty and has the acting chops but I didn't want Olanna marred by the million other characters she's played. Plus it would have been lazy casting really. Not that Thandie Newton is a new face on the scene but at least she's new to the Nollywood scene. Right? As for the rumours that Genevieve's scenes were cut from the final edit (!) because her style of acting was slowing down (!!!) the movie, I have no comment.

I never thought of Thandie while reading the novel but I can see it, especially if she plaits her hair at some point.

The Cast (clockwise): Odenigbo, Ugwu, Olanna, Richard, Kinene (as if!), Ms Adebaya (hmmm)

I like John Boyega as Ugwu. Don't know much about him but since Chimamanda introduces the character as someone that could be anywhere between the ages of thirty and thirteen (he was thirteen) I think it gave them lots of leeway with the casting and took care of the issue of having to cast different people in the role to show him ageing. And he's attractive without being handsome (if I squint he kinda looks like a younger Denzel Washington) which is exactly how the Ujwu in my head is.

Anika Noni Rose as Kainene, just no! She will always be the Dream Girl that replaced Effie to me. Even her The Good Wive scenes seem contrived to me. And it might just as well be just me but You guys, Kainene was as if ugly... not in the bad way (she's skinny, so she can never truly be ugly. Or else we might have had people casting the eponymous Precious-based-on-the-novel-Push-by-Sapphire in the role!) but definitely way lower on the attractiveness scale than even a barefaced de-eyebrowed Anika can ever hope to be. And she can't pull a Charlize 'cause Charlize's weight gain for Monster made up for about 80% of her coming off as believably unattractive.

Clockwise: Some of the cast after wrapping up shooting. Bottom Right: Boyega and Newton on the set. I don't get the uproar over casting Thandie as an Igbo woman, Olanna was meant to look as European as an Igbo woman can be!

A wedding scene from the movie. (Movie Odenigbo is really hot you guys!!! O_o)

Speaking of unattractive, hmmmmmn... Odenigbo, Odenigbo, Odenigbo! Okay, I'll come clean - I pictured an Igbo version of Mr Rochester ... you know, that ugly enigmatic type? Yeah, that one. Ugly is not how I'd describe Chiwetel Ejiofor though (not even close!), but then again Michael Fassbender gave me a Mr Rochester to rival Colin Firth's Mr Darcy so what do I know about movie castings. Let's wait for the movie's release in November 2013 (which I will review, you can bet on it) and see if a new face will join my harem of imaginary lovers.

I can't wait for the movie just to see who Madu and Okeoma are going to be. Those were my favourite secondary characters (and by favourite I mean characters I was crushing on)!


  1. Lemme first read, before u offer the book to others! Went to Aristoc today and wanted to ask if I could work, and live there, ala Kafka

  2. Also,can't wait for the round table-esque discussion that will take place in these comment section regarding the bk and the actors once I read!


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