Larissa MacFarquhar at The New Yorker:
Around the time that Imasuen was getting yelled at by his mother, the author of “Purple Hibiscus,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is now regarded as one of the most vital and original novelists of her generation, was living in a poky apartment in Baltimore, writing the last sections of her second book. She was twenty-six. “Purple Hibiscus,” published the previous fall, had established her reputation as an up-and-coming writer, but she was not yet well known.
Although there had been political violence in the background of her first book, she had written it as a taut, enclosed story of one family; her second, “Half of a Yellow Sun,” would be much larger. She was constructing a story of symphonic complexity, with characters from all over Nigeria and many levels of society, twisted together by love and the chance encounters of refugees.