In her debut novel, Under the Udala Trees, Chinelo Okparanta explores sexuality in a war-torn Nigeria. Two girls, Ijeoma and Amina, must reconcile their feelings for each other within a culture that only values heterosexual relationships.
Although the Biafran War does not take center stage in the novel, the war’s background presence mirrors the personal, familial, and socio-political conflicts that the characters face.
“Under the Udala Trees” was an overdue novel for a country that criminalizes same sex relationships. This story had to be told.