Following a family, and a family curse, through generations, Makumbi has written an epic novel of Uganda where the personal, political, and supernatural are blended so seamlessly that "magical realism" seems too coy a term to describe it. Reminiscent of Rushdie's Midnight's Children, the mystical acts as an inextricable and inexorable element of reality in Kintu, and the characters' responses to it are heartbreaking and enthralling.— Laurel
This magisterial novel traces the story of a curse passed down from a 18th century patriarch to disparate members of his family tree in the 21st century in Uganda. Skipping the entire colonial history of the country, quite purposefully, the author tells a captivating tale of life in Uganda, subversively questioning traditional gender roles and rejecting the notion of an un-modernized, stubborn Africa with her depiction of a vibrant, complex country that is able to maintain its own myths, beliefs, and sense of heritage within a constantly Westernizing world. And that it was written by a Ugandan, for a Ugandan audience--that is, not for the sake of being palatable to an outside reader--makes it all the more important a read for those of us living in former or current colonial powers like the US.— Jacob R
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017
Winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize
Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize
A soaring and sublime epic. One of those great stories that was just waiting to be told.--Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
First published in Kenya in 2014 to critical and popular acclaim, Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. Divided into six sections, the novel begins in 1750, when Kintu Kidda sets out for the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom. Along the way, he unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. In an ambitious tale of a clan and a nation, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu's descendants as they seek to break from the burden of their shared past and reconcile the inheritance of tradition and the modern world that is their future.