Across the first month of 2020, Sophie Baggott is sharing her thirty favourite books by women from across the world. Find out more about her project to read women writers from every country worldwide here.
The very first book I read for this project was Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi – a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. It’s still among my favourites, combining traditional oral storytelling with folk tales, mythology, and biblical elements, this is an memorable critique of contemporary society.
In a nutshell: This is no brusque clamber into a family tree, but a thorough venture from roots to canopy – a complex exploration of how blood ties can seep from Bugandan ancestors down the generations to modern city-dwellers.
To pluck out a line: “Sometimes, when the world is not looking, the surgeons poke Africa in the wounds.”
If I had to choose one image: A young orphan sings to herself in attempt to forget a botched abduction that leads to her kidnappers being killed by a crowd.
Sharing a thought: The author’s allusions to acts typically abhorred – such as incest or human sacrifice – are rare and compelling in their refusal to cast judgement.
Fact: words from the Bantu language are often dropped into the text – e.g. ‘mzungu’, which translates as ‘someone who roams around’ – referring to a white person
If you want to read Kintu, visit here.