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Under the Udala Trees

Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (508 ratings)

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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slower paced book, but very beautiful

The story itself sort of meanders along as it follows the life of the main character. That. Ring said, the moments in it are heartfelt and emotional. I kept getting stuck at some of the slower parts, but the ending left me crying. It was perfect. Highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great listen!

Would you listen to Under the Udala Trees again? Why?

It was a well told story and left me engaged wanting the book to be longer.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ijeoma because she reminds me of things I've dealt with and have been through personally.

Have you listened to any of Robin Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, this is my first time listening.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moment when ijeoma's husband found her wooden treasure box with all her letters to oondeedee

Any additional comments?

I am just disgusted at the laws in nigeria still to this day and think that I would never visit with those laws still in place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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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.

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Equal measures heartbreaking and hopeful

Equal measures heartbreaking and hopeful, as life is. A queer perspective I don't see represented in my media often.

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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!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian & Andre's mum
  • 09-01-18

boring and not thrilling.

storyline was ok. but quite boring. dragged in some places. not my typical kind of novel choice.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vivienne Ekpo
  • 05-31-18

Not what I expected.

The book has touched me in ways words cannot explain. I really enjoyed this book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JJJ35
  • 06-23-17

The torment of life as a gay woman in Nigeria

What made the experience of listening to Under the Udala Trees the most enjoyable?

The colourful descriptions of Biafra. Okparanta has the ability to bring landscape and people to life with the bare minimum of prose.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Under the Udala Trees?

Ijeoma's daily lessons as she tried to make sense of her "abomination".

What does Robin Miles bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She sounded like I imagined the Ijeoma to sound.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. Not once did I laugh, nor did I cry. This is the reason I rated it 4* and not higher.

Any additional comments?

It's a powerful and thought-provoking book but for me, lacked emotional punch.

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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