Under the Udala TreeseBook - 2015
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Named a Best Book of the Year by
NPR * BuzzFeed * Bustle * Shelf Awareness * Publishers Lunch
"[This] love story has hypnotic power."-- The New Yorker
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. But when their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself--and there is a cost to living inside a lie.
Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Chinelo Okparanta shows us, in "graceful and precise" prose ( New York Times Book Review ), how the struggles and divisions of a nation are inscribed on the souls of its citizens. "Powerful and heartbreaking, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply moving commentary on identity, prejudice, and forbidden love" ( BuzzFeed ).
"An important and timely read, imbued with both political ferocity and mythic beauty." -- Bustle
"A real talent. [ Under the Udala Trees is] the kind of book that should have come with a cold compress kit. It's sad and sensual and full of heat." -- John Freeman, Electric Literature
"Demands not just to be read, but felt." -- Edwidge Danticat
From the critics
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“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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