Under the Udala Trees

Chinelo Okparanta. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-544-00344-6
Okparanta's excellent debut novel is a heartbreaker. Ijeoma is a young girl in civil war-torn Ojoto, Nigeria. When the war takes her father, and her mother can no longer care for her, she is sent away to family friends in the city of Aba. While with them, Ijeoma, part of the Igbo tribe, meets Amina, an orphan from the Hausa tribe. Despite the heavy cultural and religious taboos, the girls fall in love and begin to explore their sexuality. This behavior comes to an abrupt halt when they are caught and Ijeoma returns to her mother, who inundates her in religious instruction. Ijeoma and Amina attend the same school and wrestle the conflict between their attraction and the pressures upon them. After Amina marries a man, Ijeoma is devastated, but soon meets another woman, Ndidi. Eventually, caving to pressure, Ijeoma marries her childhood friend Chibundu and tries to be a happy wife but as time passes, Ijeoma must contend with her feelings for Ndidi, which she must keep secret, and finally make a fateful decision. Okparanta's characters are just as compelling as teenagers as they are as adults and readers will be swept up in this tale of the power of love. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/10/2015
Release date: 09/22/2015
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-6633-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-5046-6632-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-544-00336-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-6631-2
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-544-81179-9
Show other formats
Discover what to read next