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Before reading this, I had little knowledge of the Nigerian civil war. I only understood the brutality and the number of innocent people who had suffered over dark period of the countries history.
The book was written from the side of the Biafran people. It’s starts pre war and does a great job in building a story of how good life was during this period. Pre war, the reader is given the opportunity to listen to the discussions from our main protagonists on their disdain with the people in charge.
The books main protagonists are varied; from a university lecturer who has taken on another character called Ugwu as his houseboy. Ugwu instantly becomes a favourite, due to his witty thoughts being narrated to the reader. There is Richard who is an English writer and is in a relationship with Kainene who is part of the Igbo elite and her sister is Olanna who is in a relationship with Odenigbo, the university lecturer.
Growing up in the UK, we do not see images of the African elite. We do not see or hear of African university lecturers. This book opens the western world’s eyes to the fact that Africa isn’t all what the UK media depicts it to be.
This is a great trait of Adichie’s. She gives great insight to lives of Nigerians who fall in the middle and whose stories aren’t extreme or controversial enough to be covered by the UK press.
The book covers a range of topics such as colonialism, family loyalty, love, elitism and bribery to name a few. The reader is taken to various points in time which is confusing at first, but once you catch up with that narrative you understand the writing style.
I really enjoyed this one as I haven’t read a lot of fictional books recently and it felt good to be taken to another point in time in another country whilst on my commute.
I’m still yet to see the film. One of my sister’s who is an avid reader told me that the film doesn’t quite live up to the book. In my experience, they never do.