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Welcome to Lambda Literary’s online book club. This book club will highlight a different lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender book each month. The books selected will be a heady mix of LGBT classics, unheralded gems, and buzz-worthy new releases.
We’d also love to hear your suggestions for upcoming selections or comments on the club in general. E-mail William at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month’s selection is Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta:
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.
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 also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.
Enjoy and remember: reading is fundamental
Under The Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, 9780544003446, 336 pp.