Sunday, November 05, 2006

ghost post


Oooh, this is so weird. I have a ghost post loose somewhere in my blog. Either that, or technical difficulties. I had posted my "Third Day" book review (with much difficulty from blogger), but it wouldn't allow comments, and when I checked my archive of posts, it WASN'T THERE. Weird! And, as if the act of noticing it didn't really exist made this post also take note of its own phantom status, it promptly vanished. So I'm reposting it, hopefully with pictures this time!

So this is it, the first “meeting” of the Third Day Book Club, the brainchild of the fabulous Patry. I must admit, I don’t even know who the other members are, but I wish we were all in someone’s living room drinking wine and talking about this amazing book! Fellow readers, I raise my glass (or in this case, my coffee cup) to you.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a novel about a war I had - ulp! - never heard of, the ill-fated Biafran war for independence from Nigeria, which spanned the mid-1960s. And while it is a novel of war, the story is relatively small in scope, focusing on a few lives and how they are changed by the events around them, not trying to explain or “teach” the war. There is very little “big picture” analysis. I’m not quite sure exactly how this book club is meant to work, but instead of going into any kind of synopsis, I’ll just say to those of you who haven’t read this book: it is engrossing from the very first paragraph, the characters are vivid and real and warm, and I am left with a feeling of having had an inside glimpse at wartime life that goes so much deeper than news reports and death tolls.

I also couldn’t help thinking, reading this book, of another war, one that is going on right now. One of the things I would do if I had infinite time on my hands, is take more history classes. I have such a skimpy understanding of geopolitics, and there are intriguing hints in Half of a Yellow Sun about the imperialist history of British Nigeria, about how the country was formed, and how that history paved the way to the Biafran secession. I got the idea that the British had, for reasons all their own, drawn lines on a map of Africa and carved out a country and named it Nigeria. In this new country were a number of ethnic groups with their own unique cultures and religions, bound together by nothing but this British-drawn border (sound familiar?). The British played the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba people against each other for their own reasons, perhaps even inciting the terrible massacre of the Igbo that kicked off the civil war. I would like to understand better the history of white people mucking around with nation-building. I had such a feeling of outrage reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible years ago, and discovering how the US was responsible for propping up Mobutu in Congo. And seeing Syriana recently, the fictional depiction of the US interests ensuring a playboy puppet would come to power in a nameless Mid-east nation, because he would be easier to manipulate than his more serious, reform-minded brother. It all gives me a helpless sense that humanity really is a bunch of monkeys that are just intelligent enough to be highly, highly destructive.

But back to the book! One thing that sticks in my mind a few weeks after finishing it is this question: when writing a book about tragic times, is the writer compelled to inflict personal tragedy upon his/her characters? That is, in a book about war, must the characters suffer personal loss? I’ve had this conversation with Jim, who sometimes gets angry at writers for killing characters, but I think they must. As much as we readers pray for characters to make it through books like this, there would be a sense of “cheating” the reality if some major characters did not die. That sounds morbid, but if everyone comes out okay, it would leave the readers with a false sense that the generality of people who went through that war also came out “okay.” Books like this function for readers like me as a microcosm of events. This is the first I have ever really heard of the Biafran War, so it is essentially all I know. If it ended well, would I subconsciously associate that ending with the war in its entirety?

Last year I read an amazing book about the Northern Italian arena of WWII, called A Thread of Grace that I recommend VERY HIGHLY, and without giving specifics, the end of that book is like repeated gut punches. It wrings you out. There is no reprieve, no little happy place you can retreat to and feel that anyone came out of that war “okay”. It is visceral and haunting, and that is the only way to depict war. War is death. So much needless death. And war fiction sort of HAS to clobber you with it. And Half of a Yellow Sun does, though certainly not with nearly the grimness of A Thread of Grace. All in all, there is a kind of return to life at the end of the book, such as there wasn’t and couldn’t have been in A Thread of Grace.

I’m curious to read what others have written about this book, but I’ll throw in a few other comments: I loved the characters, Ugwu especially, and I found the opening completely absorping, though it was such a small kind of scene, a young boy going to his new job, I was engrossed, rooting for him. And a line that really really sticks in my head is Kainene telling Olanna she sometimes hates the refugees for dying. I thought that was a powerfully truthful thing to say, to admit. I also kept thinking repeatedly of all the people in all the conflicts throughout Africa and the rest of this damned planet, currently living in the kind of horrific conditions the refugees endure in this book. The starvation, the rapes, the massacres. And sitting home in America, it is so easy to forget it all. Again, that’s the power of fiction, to make us SEE, if only we pick up the right books. Like The Kite Runner, and Half of a Yellow Sun. In a way, it should be our homework as citizens of the world, to read books like this, to SEE, to KNOW. To not vote for people who will make more wars. To perhaps do more than simply vote, but do. . . something.

22 comments:

melba said...

I tried posting on your ghost post but I couldn't. I also read about a few other bloggers loosing their posts too; weird!

There is so much history I don't know about. Election day is Tuesday and there are many issues on the ballot in my state. It is SO difficult to get past all the hype;I have been trying to watch the commercials just so I know the basics of each sides point of view.
Time is running out and I need to make some decisions!

Left-handed Trees... said...

I also tried to comment here about your reflection on the book...I feel such outrage at the way things are in the world at times. I bring my students to novels like this one to try to help others "see" beyond their own problems (which is something I need to keep growing with too). I will be voting--I will keep slinging books like these (have you ever read Edwidge Danticat or Farnoosh Moshiri?--they'll blow your mind this same way--I teach them each semester...) Deepening my awareness of the sorrow elsewhere only helps me to appreciate my life more.

Patry Francis said...

One thing I find so interesting after reading several of the reviews is how nearly everyone seemed to have chosen Ugwu as a favorite character. I think we were all drawn in by his innocence and his striving. He comes into the world that many of us take for granted--a world of abundant food and technical wonders, of books and access to education, and reminds us how fortunate we are to have them. The book then proceeds to show us how easily they can all be swept away, along with any illusion of safety, home, and even life.

Loved your review and especially loved where it took us. Just like the novel itself, you lead us to a reminder that all the good things we take for granted are vulnerable and at risk. If we want to kee them, we need to think, to learn, to vote and to act.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Laini, first I have to tell you I have been buying your ladies and giving them to all my friends and I love you for making them.

Second, your post is fabulous and I nodded along to it all the way.

Third, if you liked Mary Doria-Russell's A Thread of Grace, you should try her book "The Sparrow" and its sequel "Children of God" even if you don't like sci-fi. She's one of the most amazing writers I've ever read. So deep. I interviewed her for my now defunct radio show and she's as amazing in person.

Thanks for being you

Amber said...

This sounds interesting. I love reading book reports! and this is the second time I have seen someone talk about this book, so I think I should go get it, and add it to my bedside pile.
You are right about books like this. That is the power of story... To show us something of life that we don't know, and really tell it to our hearts.

Good post!

:)

tinker said...

I think I saw your ghost post last night - at least there was a post about Half of a Yellow Sun that I tried to comment on and couldn't.

I posted on this as well, though I'm only halfway through the book. Ugwu is my favorite character also, and since learning that things are about to get even hairier for his character, I've decided to wait till after NaNoWriMo to finish it - because even though writer's may be called to allow bad things to happen to their characters (just as in real life; I side a little bit with Jim, but I do understand the points you make here), I can become so caught up in a book and its characters that I find myself reacting as though it's real life. I can't take the time right now to have a meltdown! Still it's an excellent book, so I do want to eventually finish it. You've made some good points here, regarding its relevance to current world events.

Ali la Loca said...

Sounds like a great book. I haven't yet read "Poisonwood Bible" but many have recommended it to me. I'll have to add both to my list of to-read books.

About the whole British carving up Africa to suit their needs thing - they weren't the only ones. The whole of Africa was diced up like this, by the Belgians, the Portuguese, the British, the Germans and the Italians.

Where I live in southern Mozambique, we are very close to the border with South Africa. The local tribe is the Shangaan, and they very much span the border. The geographical demarcation between the 2 countries makes no sense, especially in an anthropological and human context. Literally families are separated by a border, luck determining whether they got the short end of the stick (Moz) or not (South Africa)...

Kim G. said...

I love historical fiction and how it brings to life the real events that shaped our world in a way that is much more personal than just reading it in a history text. The book sounds great - I have already read and enjoyed the others you mentioned so I'm sure I'd be a fan of this one as well. I'll add it to the "to be read" list!

Hope you're doing well and all your work isn't wearing you out. This rain is enough to make you want to nap the days away this time of year!

Anonymous said...

Hi to everyone =)
Aciphex
Aciphex
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Aciphex/index.html
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Tramadol
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Tramadol/index.html
Tramadol
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Bentyl
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Bentyl/index.html
Bentyl
Thx

Anonymous said...

hello all
Aciphex
Aciphex
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Aciphex/index.html
`````````````````````````````````````````````
Tramadol
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Tramadol/index.html
Tramadol
++++++++++++++++++++++
Bentyl
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Bentyl/index.html
Bentyl
THX

Anonymous said...

Hi folks
Aciphex
Aciphex
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Aciphex/index.html
++++++++++++++++++++++
Tramadol
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Tramadol/index.html
Tramadol
`````````````````````````````````````````````
Bentyl
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Bentyl/index.html
Bentyl
thank you

Anonymous said...

Here is some informational sources

/////////////////////////////
D

denavir
detrol
diazepam
/////////////////////////////
didrex
==================================
diflucan
diprolene
--------------------------------------------------
dovonex
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

E

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
effexor
elidel
esgic
--------------------------------------------------
estradiol
evista
famvir
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
F

fastin
fioricet
---------------------------------------------
fiorinal
flexeril
flomax
flonase
--------------------------------------------------
fluconazole
fluoxetine
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
fosamax
G

--------------------------------------------------
gris
hoodia
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
M

imitrex
ionamin
kenalog
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
lamisil
levbid
levitra
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
lexapro
--------------------------------------------------
lipitor
lortab
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
meclizine
meridia
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
mircette
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
cymbalta
/////////////////////////////


PS
It would be interesting, if you'll post your thoughts about that pills.. thx
This is my university project )) Thank you for your post;)

Please post your comments

Anonymous said...

Good day to Everybody

I tell my friends about it! They like sites like that
----------------------------------
http://pacodelucia.org/chat/chat/images/britney-spears/index.html
http://terebigemu.se/forum/images/ringtones/index.html
http://northwestacademy.net/forum/images/cialis/index.html
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
britney spears
ringtones
cialis
*************************************
cialis
ringtones
britney spears
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

P.S.
this would be great, if you'll post some more info about that pills.. thankyou
This is my university project ))

Anonymous said...

Good day to Everybody


I glad too see this interest site
=============================
http://pacodelucia.org/chat/chat/images/britney-spears/index.html
http://terebigemu.se/forum/images/ringtones/index.html
http://northwestacademy.net/forum/images/cialis/index.html
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
britney spears
ringtones
cialis
=============================
cialis
ringtones
britney spears
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

P.S.
this would be great, if you'll post your thoughts about that pills.. thx
This is my university project ))

Anonymous said...

Hello
gay asian teen sex [url=http://byronss.com.au/photos/images/smiles/temp/index.html] perfect teen sex [/url]
free young teen sex movie http://byronss.com.au/photos/images/smiles/temp/index.html --> hardcore teen sex party
home video teen sex teen sex preview l

Anonymous said...

Hi
free hardcore teen sex vids teen sex xxx
petite teen sex video http://byronss.com.au/photos/images/smiles/temp/index.html --> young teen sex vids
anime teen sex rough teen sex movie pink l

Anonymous said...

Hi
amateur bbw
amateur chubby

amateur photo
-->http://info-graf.fr/forum/Themes/default/images/icons/temp/index.html
amateur housewife
amateur housewife

Anonymous said...

Do you know much about you helth??!! )
But So should we??

Hello
Here is some informational sources

!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/dog-100-acetaminophen/index.html]acetaminophen[/url]
!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/effects-apo-acetazolamide/index.html]acetazolamide[/url]
_______________
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/fluimucil-acetylcysteine/index.html]acetylcysteine[/url]
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/weight-acetylsalicylic/index.html]acetylsalicylic[/url]
`````````````````````````````
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/book-generic-guest-pregnancy/index.html]aciphex[/url]
`````````````````````````````
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/used-acyclovir-dosage/index.html]acyclovir[/url]
_______________
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/does-work-adipex-no/index.html]adipex[/url]
/////////////////////////////
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/medicine-aldara-5-aldara/index.html]aldara[/url]
`````````````````````````````
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/acne-alesse-birth-book/index.html]alesse[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/beck-photo-allegra-d/index.html]allegra[/url]
--------------------------------------------------
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/and-ear-pain-dosage/index.html]allopurinol[/url]
!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/used-for-amitriptyline/index.html]amitriptyline[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/penicillin-amoxicillin/index.html]amoxicillin[/url]
/////////////////////////////
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/medication-antivert/index.html]antivert[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/codeine-and-ativan-sublingual/index.html]ativan[/url]
_______________
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/side-bentyl-dicyclomine/index.html]bentyl[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/uti-biaxin-information/index.html]biaxin[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/book-by-guest-powered/index.html]bontril[/url]
_______________
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/effects-bupropion-150/index.html]bupropion[/url]
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/where-buspar-generic/index.html]buspar[/url]
!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!!-!-!-!
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/effects-buspirone-drug/index.html]buspirone[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/apap-butalbital-generic/index.html]butalbital[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/on-carisoprodol-cheap/index.html]carisoprodol[/url]
--------------------------------------------------
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/weight-gain-celebrex/index.html]celebrex[/url]
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/message-board-cause/index.html]celexa[/url]
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
[url=http://pharmainfo.net/images/smilies/vs-buy-tadalafil-canada/index.html]cialis[/url]
`````````````````````````````


PS
It would be great, if you'll post some more info about that pills.. thx
This is my university project )) Thank you for your post;)

Anonymous said...

Hello
1. [url=http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002cf.htm]online order phentermine[/url]
Best video [url=http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002d0.htm]drug more tramadol use[/url]
[url=http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002d1.htm]cialis pill[/url]
2 phentermine picture--> http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002cf.htm
More info buy tramadol online--> http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002d0.htm
cialis sample--
> http://culturitalia.uibk.ac.at/forumSLI/_forumSLI/000002d1.htm
3. phentermine picture
tramadol ultram
buy cialis online viagra

Anonymous said...

Good day to Everybody

[url=http://gp2brew.com/images/smilies/temp/index.html]free gay[/url]
gay nude-->http://gp2brew.com/images/smilies/temp
gay dick

Anonymous said...

Hi all!
free full length teen sex movie [url=http://byronss.com.au/photos/images/smiles/temp/index.html] nude young teen sex [/url]
teen sex password http://byronss.com.au/photos/images/smiles/temp/index.html --> free very young teen sex
perfect body teen sex teen sex parties l

Anonymous said...

Hi folks
Aciphex
[url=http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Aciphex/index.html]Aciphex[/url]
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Aciphex/index.html
============================================
[url=http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Tramadol/index.html]Tramadol[/url]
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Tramadol/index.html
Tramadol
*****************************************************
Bentyl
http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Bentyl/index.html
[url=http://www.yeshuanet.com/docs/images/Bentyl/index.html]Bentyl[/url]
thx