I was listening to an Arts Show on the radio last night and they were talking about the short list for the International IMPAC Dublin literary award. (More details here http://www.impacdublinaward.ie ) They mentioned an author who I hadn’t thought of in awhile – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is shorlisted for her book ‘Americanah.’ I remembered reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun.’ Have you read it? It is an excellent read. It is about the struggle in Biafra to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this through five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress and Richard, a shy young Englishman who is in love with Olanna’s feisty twin sister Kainene.
I found this book gripping from the start. The characters are so vivid and the depictions of war so brutal. It is also a love story and all the characters lives are expertly told, so that within a very short time you are completely invested in their stories. I remember seeing the author on television speaking at the Hay Festival. She was so beautiful and eloquent. Nigeria has produced some incredible writers and she is definitely one of them. I can’t wait to read ‘Americanah.’
I was thinking about other books last night that I had completely forgotten about. Two being ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier and ‘Stoner.’ by John Williams. If you haven’t read ‘Stoner,’ I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is one of those books that once you have finished it, you sigh and look forward to a time when you can re-read it. It is a masterpiece of understated brilliance in my opinion. Happy Reading!