- Sidestepping the Political “Graveyard of Creativity”: Polyphonic Narratives and Reenvisioning the Nation-State in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
- Research in African Literatures
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 47, Number 3, Fall 2016
- pp. 88-105
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Although critics of the contemporary anglophone African novel acknowledge its transnational themes, they often associate it with an individualism that is harmoniously reconciled with national responsibility and, therefore, the eventual rehabilitation of the state. These critics’ implicit valorization of the nation-state as a site of shared affective ties overlooks the African novel’s dismantling of a geographically and ideologically determined writerly identity. This essay argues that a narratological approach elucidates the outlines of an imagined state in the African realist novel and the challenges of imagining democracy. Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah links reform to inclusive social dialogue. Half of a Yellow Sun resuscitates this possibility through its structurally complex representation of authorship. Echoing Anthills, Adichie’s novel extends the role of national storyteller to peripheral voices and appears to forecast state rehabilitation. However, this image of inclusivity belies its desire to consolidate, in nationalistic terms, a volatile middle-class identity.