Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tropical Fish - Tales from Entebbe by Doreen Baingana (26/81)

Category: Around the World
Country: Uganda

This book is structured as eight short stories which could work as stand-alone pieces (and some have been published in magazines), but they are best read in order as presented here. All of the stories in some way are about Christine and her two older sisters, growing up in Uganda following the regime of Idi Amin.
The stories change perspective, some in the third person, but most in the first person, one as diary entry and another particularly affecting story, as a letter to a former lover. Essentially they are coming-of-age stories, but set against a backdrop of unrest, the effects of colonialism and AIDS. Uganda plays an important part in these stories, ironically even in the one that is set in Los Angeles.
Some of the problems faced by the characters here are specific to Africa, but other feelings portrayed should resonate with everyone. This is a wonderful book which I expect to have a lasting effect on me and I'll be keen to read whatever Doreen Baingana writes next.

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