When I first started reading Part 2, I found it interesting that there was such a large gap in time between the first part and the second. Upon looking ahead, I realized that Part 3 goes back in time, to cover what we have missed. I found this jump very interesting, and a huge factor in creating suspense in the plot; not necessarily because we want to know what will happen, but what has already happened. Something big has obviously happened between Olanna, Odenigbo, Kainene, and Richard that has altered the dynamics between their relationships. When I was reading, I found myself thinking of an infidelity as the potential riff. But between whom? Richard seems uncomfortable being around Olanna, and is hesitant to tell Kainene that he ran into her at the town meeting. Could something have happened between them? Also, there is the repeated reference to Baby’s birth four years ago. I thought Richard might have been the father (remember the infertility problems that were alluded to in Part 1?), except that Ugwu “marveled at how much she looked like her father; his people would say that Master had spit this child out” (157). Also, when Olanna is travelling to her family’s village, she muses about the fact that Odenigbo acted as if he was entitled to her forgiveness. She comes to the conclusion that “he must think that if she could be forgiving of what happened around Baby’s birth, she could be forgiving of anything” (239), which seems to indicate it was Odenigbo who was at fault for the incident, whatever it was.
All in all, I think Adichie was extremely clever in her creation of a feeling of suspense that would not have been present if the story was told chronologically. What do you guys think happened between the two couples? Also, do you think Ugwu is aware of whatever happened? He doesn’t seem to acknowledge that either Olanna or Odenigbo did something horrible to the other… Just things to think about!