I want to start my post today by saying how saddened and disturbed I am by the recent shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis. That police are shooting and killing citizens of ANY color is both despicable and disturbing. The police are supposed to protect us, and I have to say, having watched the videos from both shootings, I don’t feel very protected right now. I feel sad and scared for my friends of color. And also sad and scared for the good police officers that I know are out there, and are probably going to be put in more danger because of stupid things like this. There’s got to be a way to end this cycle of violence.
To kind of tie in with my feelings, I thought the first book I would talk about today would be Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa.
This book is from Uganda, a country with a brutal modern history of war and violence that includes a military coup d’etat, a rebel army, a mass exodus, and Abyssinian Chronicles takes place during this turbulent time in Ugandan history, following a young boy named Mugezi, who grows up during this unstable time.
(Uganda, for those of you who suck at geography like me, is here:)
To make matters worse, Mugezi’s home life is just as terrible as life outside his home. His mother is self-righteous and physically and emotionally abusive, while his father is weak and self-serving. Mugezi survives through a mixture of Attitude, luck, and sheer will, eventually making his way to Amsterdam.
This is one of those books that I would describe as an “epic read,” not in the sense that it’s INSANELY AWESOME, but because it feels very much like a journey. The story begins in a tiny village where Mugezi’s parents grew up, and then travels to the capital city of Kampala, and then finally to Amsterdam. To read this book is to go on a journey through, and then out of, Uganda. In cataloging, we call that a bildungsroman!
Overall, I really liked the book (and that cover is GORGEOUS!). I will say I really disliked adult Mugezi, and I’m still trying to make up my mind as to whether Isegawa intentionally made him unlikable or not. To be fair, there really isn’t a single likable person in this book, besides the child Mugezi and Mugezi’s grandfather and great-aunt.
Moses Isegawa has written other books as well, although I can’t personally recommend any of them. If you’re interested, that link above goes to his profile on Goodreads. Abyssinian Chronicles was his first book, and it remains his most popular.