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Kintu
Cover of Kintu
Kintu

Longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Debut African Fiction

Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

"Kintu is a masterpiece, an absolute gem, the great Ugandan novel you didn't know you were waiting for."—Aaron Bady, The New Inquiry

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.

Longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Debut African Fiction

Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

"Kintu is a masterpiece, an absolute gem, the great Ugandan novel you didn't know you were waiting for."—Aaron Bady, The New Inquiry

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.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 13, 2017
    Makumbi’s debut novel is a sprawling family chronicle that explores Uganda’s national identity through a brilliant interlacing of history, politics, and myth. In 2004, a man named Kamu Kintu is branded a thief and killed by a vicious crowd. While his body lies unclaimed in the mortuary, we follow Kintu’s lineage back to 1750, when the ambitious Kintu Kidda journeys with his tribe to pay tribute to the new regent of the Kingdom of Buganda, with whom he hopes to gain favor. Instead, he inadvertently causes the death of his own son and awakens a curse that will plague his offspring for generations. There’s Suubi Nnakintu, who takes a taxi bound for the village of her youth, hoping to find the biological father who abandoned her; the Christian convert Kanani Kintu who, with his wife, stakes his place in heaven on Ugandan Independence; precocious Isaac Newton Kintu, whose future depends on the results of an HIV test; and the slain Kamu’s father, Miisi Kintu, a western-educated doctor struggling against both negative stereotypes of Africans abroad and prejudice among his countrymen at home. All of the members of the Kintu bloodline must come together and reckon with the past and their place in their country if they are ever to be free of the curse that claimed Kamu. A masterpiece of cultural memory, Kintu is elegantly poised on the crossroads of tradition and modernity.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2017

    This ambitious multigenerational tale of the cursed bloodline of Uganda's Kintu clan begins in 1750 with the treacherous journey of Kintu Kidda, who travels with his men through the o Lwera desert to prove his loyalty to the Bagandan kingdom, though his lineage differs. He has a number of families across the kingdom, but in an act of kindness, he adopts Kalema, son of Ntwire, a worker who tends his land. During one trek, Kintu hits Kalema for breaking custom, inadvertently killing him. He and his men refuse to share the details of the death with the village, but Ntwire senses that something is amiss and curses Kintu before leaving to search for his son. The narrative then chronicles the history of various clan members until 2004, when the author began writing this epic tale. Published in Kenya in 2014, this book won the Kwani Manuscript Prize and was long-listed for the Etisalat Prize for African Fiction. What is most impressive is the interwoven history and language of Uganda within the fictional narrative. VERDICT Reminiscent of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, this work will appeal to lovers of African literature.--Ashanti White, Fayetteville, NC

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
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