The prose itself bristles and cooks, with graceful transitions ("This time a year passed without hearing any news from Tiida") and scenes lurching with activity. Isegawa, who was born in Uganda but now lives in the Netherlands, is a master of unexpected verbs and details. Here Mugezi describes his mother's voice:
This woman knew how to irritate me on all fronts: her pathetic country-western girlie whine, xeroxed from a white nun from her convent days, the same nun from whom she had inherited the little tremolos which she sprinkled piously on the last hymn every night, really got to me.
Inconsistencies in the narrator's point of view can mar this novel and arrest its progress. The narrator will suddenly describe interior states he couldn't possibly know about: his mother's depression and loneliness, which she hides from everyone, the deepest thoughts of distant relatives. But for readers hoping to glimpse a foreign world, these bumps in the road are worth the ride. --Ellen Williams, Amazon.com
‘Vibrant and sombre, Abyssinian Chronicles seamlessly integrates positive, workaday Ugandan lives with Amin’s murderous regime . . . sharp and bitterly funny storytelling’ Independent
‘Precious few first novels are as phantasmagoric or as haunting as this one’ Time
‘Bewitching . . . a spectacular debut, and one which makes a significant contribution to the literature of Africa’ Observer