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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly. Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is 11 when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child, and the star-crossed pair 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's Under the Udala Trees uses 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 wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. But this story offers a glimmer of hope - a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.

©2015 Chinelo Okparanta (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

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What listeners say about Under the Udala Trees

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Great Listen!

I gave this book five stars due to the content. It's well written but more importantly it sheds light on an important issue. This author gives voice to inner turmoil gay people in Nigeria go through as well as the underground life they have to lead for safety.

22 people found this helpful

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Good book that left me wanting more.

The narrator was excellent. The story at times left me wanting more, especially at the end. I felt the author should have developed the second lesbian relationship a bit more and given more insight into their reunion and lifestyle. The lack of this exploration left me with many questions and thoughts. The author addresses many important themes such as sexual identity, culture, tradition, religion and death to name a few. The author writes beautifully in full, rich detail.

20 people found this helpful

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narrator makes this story shine

idjeoma is such a strong character but she's surrounded by people who are trying to bring her down with tradition and religion. the story was so frustrating as our heroine is helpless through much of the story. fortunately i finished the story with the help of the narrator. robin miles has a way of making the many accents and various languages in this book come alive. her reading, as well as superbly acted distinct voices between characters brought an additional layer of enjoyment to this story. she did such a good job that I'm going to seek out other books she's read aloud.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story and great performance.

The narrator was perfect for this book and she added so much to the already lyrical and wonderfully written prose.

2 people found this helpful

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Heavy story about a queer Nigerian woman's journey

So much to unpack. This book follows around Ijeoma, a queer Nigerian woman, throughout her life in a country that's not the most queer friendly.

I was surprised at how sex positive the book was with Ijeoma exploring her feelings, both emotionally and sexually.

From her first love, Ameena, a hausa girl, to feeling pressures to marry her childhood friend, her story wasn't easy to tell, nor was it meant to be a love story.

Its cerebral but I liked it. I wish I knew of more narratives of African queer women, but this definitely set the bar high.

2 people found this helpful

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fantastic story with an equally fantastic narrator

This story was gripping, emotional, alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming, and the wonderful narration enhanced the experience, as Robin Miles' performance was able to take the words on the page and bring them to life.

1 person found this helpful

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loved it

I loved this book! it resonated with me bc I too have been torn between my sexuality and faith. The word pictures were impeccable. The orator was a delight to listen to. I loved everything about this book.

1 person found this helpful

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DNF

Any additional comments?

I found the characters flat, and I had trouble connecting to the story through the way Robin Miles narrated. Disappointing since I wanted to like the book and there were so many great reviews.

1 person found this helpful

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Literature at its best - great story, beautifully

Literature at its best - great story, beautifully crafted, historically relevant. Significant as a fine piece of literature on it's own and as a narrative on LGBTQ issues in Nigeria and elsewhere on the African continent.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful

A gripping tale of a gay women's journey of coming to terms with her sexual identity where her life style it is not only not acceptable it is dangerous,.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Frustrated
  • 05-14-16

The Narrator ruins the book!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different Narrator

Would you be willing to try another book from Chinelo Okparanta? Why or why not?

Yes

What didn’t you like about Robin Miles’s performance?

Lack of research.. This is a Nigerian story but she used a very generic African accent that was closer to South African that any West African accent..Please, please, western narrators...do your research!!! I would have preferred to listen to this in a western accent than this mingled, terrible, terrible accent!!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Miss
  • 11-09-16

Good story read with a terrible accent

Why did the narrator chose a non-specific southern African accent for a Nigerian story? It's like reading a book set in London's East End in Geordie accent. The narration and the way she pronounced "akara" almost made me stop listening. Thankfully the plot was captivating enough to keep me interested until the end.

4 people found this helpful

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  • "oboejoebo"
  • 08-07-19

terrible narrator

The narrator's fake Nigerian accent was so bad I couldn't concentrate. I bought the hard copy instead. This would make me reconsider using Audible in the future.

3 people found this helpful

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  • amaka Nwosu
  • 01-23-20

Great story, shame about performance

Loved the story and literary choices but the book is let down by the narration. So much was lost because narrator is not an 'ibo' speaker - incorrect pronounciation and phrasing meant chunks of the work unintelligible. Accent incorrect for the eastern Nigeria setting - superbly poor audio publishing choice for this excellent book. The story is very relevant, draws you in and the writing is classy. On this basis, I strongly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Solomon
  • 10-23-18

Very didactic but unfair to chikwendu

St the b honing I was almost put off by the fact that the reader/ narrator was “killing” my precious igbo language but I finally looked pass the linguistic aspect of it rather I focused on the main substance which is one of the issues ravaging our society in a whole .

Very well articulated and presented . Though I do not understand the issue of lesbianism , I kind of felt sorry for Ijeoma because sometimes the first sexual activity experiences by people affects them . However I believer that chikwendu was not well treated here . Ijeoma should not have married a man to break his heart and render him lonely . What if he had exposed Ijeoma to the homophobic world of Nigeria 🇳🇬? She would have been deaf by now

1 person found this helpful

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  • Linda Adi
  • 06-09-18

Very bad accent for the native words and names.

The book has very distinct native Nigerian names and words that are not pronounced by a native speaker. Might be appealing to a foreign audience but not palatable at all for a Nigerian, where the author is from. I have rated the story just to be able to make this observation but I couldn't listen past the first chapter.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Butterfly
  • 07-30-17

Beautiful observed and delivered

This was my first audible book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was so beautiful it absorbed me and I quickly entered this child's world. The naïveté of the love of a young gay person was delightful, the inevitable censure and crushing of this love so painful. The resignation to the soul-destroying farce of a loveless marriage was desperate... i found my attention waned a bit in this part but I guess that mirrored the dullness of the situation... But I would highly recommend this beautifully observed novel of an incredibly important life experience that gets such little attention. I thought the reader was extraordinarily good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MRS A.
  • 05-13-22

Childhood memories

Loved it. Brought back memories of my own childhood when talking about the surroundings like udara tree e.t.c.

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  • Mrs A Palmer
  • 03-29-21

Good book

I really enjoyed this book and Robin Miles was an excellent narrator she brought the book to life. It was a really poignant book

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  • Moriam. O. Baruwa
  • 12-04-18

Courage

What I love about this book was how the story evolved from generations, the insight into the biafran war, the love story and challenges LGBT community in Nigerian face alongside religion and traditions. A wonderful love story, filled with struggles, and the weighing down of our authenticity by society. Succumbing to the pressure and fear of people
Interesting book!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-21-20

Sad, poignant and beautifully told

An evocative narration of this sad, poignant story. An insight into the contemporary struggles of the Nigerian LGBTQIA+ community. Great book

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  • Jamie
  • 04-03-17

heart breaking and beautiful

I had to take a couple breaks, as the treatment of LGBTQA people is upsetting, but it's a lovely story. well performed, merging languages and mythologies

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