By Moses Isegawa

ISBN-10: 0375705775

ISBN-13: 9780375705779

Like Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Moses Isegawa's Abyssinian Chronicles tells a riveting tale of twentieth-century Africa that's passionate in imaginative and prescient and breathtaking in scope.

At the heart of this unforgettable story is Mugezi, a tender guy who manages to make it during the hellish reign of Idi Amin and stories firsthand the main crushing elements of Ugandan society: he withstands his far-off father's oppression and his mother's cruelty within the identify of Catholic zeal, endures the ravages of struggle, rape, poverty, and AIDS, and but he's capable of preserve a hopeful or even sometimes a laugh outlook on lifestyles. Mugezi's hard-won observations shape a cri de coeur for a humans formed via untold losses.

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Example text

His visions reflect the complicated dual identity he has adopted: It seemed to me that I had become two persons who were closely in league one with the other. We two were engaged throughout the night in fighting some intangible enemy. We constantly spoke words of encouragement to one another during the conflict; but what it was we fought, and whether we fought with swords or schemes, I do not know. All was dim and unreal; but among the broken threads of thought, and MISSIONARIES AND PILGRIMS 35 speech, and imagined action, which crossed and re-crossed one another in the woven experiences of that night, there was one shining strand which I constantly encountered with the utmost satisfaction.

No Westerner had seen them before. For the local 20 FROM CAIRO TO BAGHDAD inhabitants, including Mohammed Aly, the novelty of Doughty’s presence soon wore off. He continued to rest as a guest in the kella, travelling to the surrounding ancient sites under the paid guidance of Zeyd, a sheikh of the local Fejir Bedouin. Eventually, the longsuffering Mohammed Aly’s patience wore out and he attacked Doughty, beating him round the head and ‘snatching my beard with canine rage’ (164). Yet Doughty continued to explore the desert lands as a Christian ‘almost at the door of the holy places’ (103), perceiving his own presence in the eyes of the Arab population as an exciting intrigue that had gradually dissipated: When tumblers come to a town the people are full of novelty, but having seen their fill they are as soon weary of them; so these few peaceable days ended, I saw the people’s countenances less friendly; the fanatical hearts of some swelled to see one walking among them that rejected the saving religion of the apostle of Ullah.

Here is a complicated and layered undressing as the two Meccan guides remove their adopted European/Turkish cloaks and return to their own clothes. The British interloper’s dress change is a yet more subtle reversal. He has already stepped from the colonial uniform of Cairo into the assumed disguise of a Syrian. Now he joins his fellow travellers in pulling on Meccan clothing. Soon attention turns more directly to Rutter. Abdullah asks for more money as guide. ’ (40). Rutter explains for the reader the danger of being called, and discovered as, a Christian: ‘There is only one person in a better position to arouse the fanatical hate of Muhammadans than a Christian on the way to Mekka, and that is a Christian who has already arrived in that forbidden city’ (41).

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Abyssinian Chronicles: A Novel by Moses Isegawa


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