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Under the Udala Trees
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Recommendation: Under the Udala Trees

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Siera (sierav) | 19 comments Mod
What appears like a typical Nigerian civil war story takes a unique and interesting turn. This book discusses what tradition, gender inequality and relations can do to a people and a place that is stuck in fear and hate justified by religion. It also ends on a high point of how religion can also be used to transform and emancipate. Although a bit of an expensive novel I recommend this to anyone interested in books about gender and culture, strong female characters, African fiction and stories of love and war.

Anyone read it? Thoughts?


Nina Chachu | 2 comments I definitely am looking forward to reading this


Beverly Siera wrote: "What appears like a typical Nigerian civil war story takes a unique and interesting turn. This book discusses what tradition, gender inequality and relations can do to a people and a place that is ..."

I have read this books - here are my thoughts:

Poignant and emotionally rich this story captured my attention and heart in many unexpected ways. The author’s storytelling abilities are showcased as she seamlessly weaves together the coming-of-age stories of Nigeria and the main character, Ijeoma. This technique effectively put me into a specific time and place and yet is universally appealing. Ijeoma’s young world is shattered as the civil war kills her father, and her mother sends her away to a safer place. In this new place Ijeoma, an Igbo and Amina, a Hausa, find comfort in their loving each other until caught and Ijeoma is reunited with her mother. Veiled bible lessons become the root of discomfort and confusion as Ijeoma tries to understand her cultural and societal expectations. When meeting Amina again in school their attraction solidifies until Amina marries. As Ijeoma meets another woman, Ndidi she learns the horrific consequences of same-sex relationships and eventually gives in to societal (and her mother’s) pressure marrying a loving understanding man. Ijeoma struggles from the beginning to present the facade of being a wife and to find some degree of happiness and satisfaction until she reaches a point where this is no longer an option to her. The beautiful honest language handles the sensitive subjects with grace, bringing the inner thoughts of the characters to light in a manner that will make readers ache in their struggles.
I had read Okparanta’s short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, I was impressed with the fluidity of her writing and the how profound the stories were and knew that I would enjoy her future work. Tragic, moving, and definitely unforgettable, this is a novel to savor as it will linger in your thoughts after you turn the last page.


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