In Chinelo Okparanta’s new novel Under the Udala Trees, a chance meeting between Ijeoma, a Christian Igbo, and Amina, a Muslim Hausa, begins a friendship that turns quickly to passion. “This was the beginning,” Okparanta writes. “Our bodies being touched by the fire that was each other’s flesh … Tingly and good and like everything perfect in the world.”
Ijeoma’s secure, stable childhood has already unravelled by then. The novel is set in 1968, one year into the Biafran conflict, and Ijeoma’s world is beset by “the ruckus of armored cars and shelling machines, bomber planes and their loud engines sending shock waves through our ears”. Things grow worse.
- Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
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