Under the Udala Trees

Under the Udala Trees

Book - 2015
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Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie. As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti's political coming of age, Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees uses one woman's lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope -- a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love. Acclaimed by Vogue, the Financial Times, and many others, Chinelo Okparanta continues to distill "experience into something crystalline, stark but lustrous" ( New York Times Book Review ). Under the Udala Trees marks the further rise of a star whose "tales will break your heart open" ( New York Daily News ).
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
ISBN: 9780544003446
Branch Call Number: OKP
Characteristics: 328 p. :,maps ;,22 cm


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Sep 30, 2019

Although it fizzled out for me toward the end in more or less anticlimax, the first 95% of the book was excellent. I'd definitely pick up another book by Okparanta.

ArapahoeJennieB May 12, 2017

Ijeoma, is a young girl sent away for her own safety during the Biafran war in Nigeria . While there she meets another girl, and they fall in love. When they are discovered, she learns to hide that crucial part of herself, but at what cost?

This book will make you question the implications of homophobia on love and religion, as well as the importance of familial and self acceptance.

multcolib_susannel Oct 24, 2016

Ijeoma survives the Biafran-Nigerian War, but now she must survive the war inside herself.

Mar 03, 2016

This beautifully written account of a young lesbian growing up in Nigeria during 1970s and 80s is a fascinating counterpart to pre- and post-Stonewall narratives in the US at the same time, and tweaks some of the latter's usual cliches. At the same time Okparanta provides powerful insight into the Biafran War and, like her lead Ijeoma, boldly engages directly with the Bible and its use to denigrate same-sex relationships. The writing, organized in many short chapters that make the story pass quickly, is lovely, if not quite as polished as Okparanta's short story collection Happiness, Like Water. A wonderful read.

Jan 25, 2016

Interesting and beautifully written account of a young lesbian in Nigeria. Illustrates in a personal way some of the problems we only read short articles about in the west.

Oct 27, 2015

Although Ijeoma’s character is narrowly defined, Okparanta writes beautiful descriptive and emotional passages that make her seem fully realized and deeply sympathetic. However, Okparanta’s tale has been structured in such a way as to frequently disrupt and fragment the emotional effects of her well-crafted prose.

Read my full review here: http://shayshortt.com/2015/10/27/under-the-udala-trees/

LPL_KateG Oct 13, 2015

Beautiful narrative. This is the first Nigerian LGBTQ protagonist I've ever encountered, and I'm so glad that Okparanta has shared this voice with us.


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Oct 27, 2015

Violence: Hate crimes against sexual minorities


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Oct 27, 2015

“It was turning out that all that studying was not actually doing any good; if anything, it was making it a case between what I felt in my heart and what Mama and the grammar school teacher felt. The Bible was beginning to feel negligible, as it was seeming to me more and more impossible to know exactly what God could really have meant.”

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