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. Read more...
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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 sUnder the Udala Treesuses 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 byVogue, theFinancial Times, and many others, Chinelo Okparanta continues to distill experience into something crystalline, stark but lustrous (New York Times Book Review).Under the Udala Treesmarks the further rise of a star whose tales will break your heart open (New York Daily News)."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-10
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)