You absolutely don’t need this page. If you’ve not read the book then this page is not going to sort you out. However, I suppose it’s fine if you just want a quick recap – only that though. READ THE BOOK!
Chapter 1 –
Ugwu, a 12 year old boy fresh from ‘the village’, is brought to work at Master’s (Odenigbo’s house). Ugwu is amazed by the standard of living – meat, taps!, chicken in the fridge. Odenigbo comes across as a figure of admiration who treats Ugwu with respect and promises him education. Ugwu gets possessive and jealous when Odenigbo tells him Olanna is coming to live with him. Aww! Bless.
Chapter 2 –
Introduced to Olanna, a well educated (British private schools and university), beautiful member of a wealthy Igbo family in Nigeria. We learn about how she fell in love with Odenigbo because of his ‘aggressive confidence’, much to the disappointment of her parents who want to use her beauty as a way of winning business contracts (‘sex bait’).
Olanna comes across as someone modest and uninterested in status/class as she visits her poorer relatives. While visiting we get the first hint of trouble brewing as tribal disputes are the subject of her uncle’s rants. Additionally, we see her visit her ex boyfriend, Mohammad, a Hausa man from similar privilege to her own, and learn of further conflict and tension from his parents (‘taint the lineage with infidel blood’). Finally, she moves to Nsukka and we see how kind and courteous she is towards Ugwu, but doesn’t immediately find acceptance from Odenigbo’s friend, Miss Adebayo, who seems to think she’s just a pretty face.
Chapter 3 –
Richard is our final chapter protagonist (Ugwu, Olanna, Richard – the chapters rotate between them in this order). A British expat, he has come to Nigeria to find himself, but seemed to have become stranded in a business/money/affairs orientated world of expats and doesn’t really fit. His good looks mean that he is being used as a ‘pretty boy’ by Susan and comes across as a damp squib of a man.
Susan becomes fiercely jealous when he talks to girls, except if they’re black. Kainene’s lack of smarm and androgynous body enchant him and they begin an affair.