Condemned by the adults in the village as an eccentric child likely to grow into a lunatic, terrified 6-year old Jesse Yesiga learns, under the influence of 16 year old Helen that he isn’t eccentric, but unique and destined, not for lunacy, but a peculiar purpose. Helen, whom Jesse loves platonically but profoundly, soon dies amidst the siege of Mbarara Town by Museveni-led rebels. Later in life Jesse bases his choices in career and romance on societal conventions, and pursues them with the passion of a poet. But after he reaches every school boy’s dream girl, and enrols on every student’s dream course, the culminating disappointment revived the illuminations of his childhood. But can he find himself again? And can he find a girl that can stir his affections the way Helen did? His flight from conventionality, inspired by a jewel bequeathed to him by his heroine, turns out to be perilous but worthwhile.
The first question I’ll ask is, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known!? This man is a genius. No, I’m not exaggerating, I don’t need to. This man is a serious, absolute genius.
This book, on its own, is one of the sweetest and cutest books I’ve ever read. No kidding.
I very much admire and envy his ability to shift the reader from one mood to the next. From elation to sadness. His descriptive powers are out of this world… From the way the book begins, with philosophical wondering on what memory really is and how it affects our lives right to the satisfactory ending.
The language in this book is not hard to understand and the simplicity in writing style makes it even better. The book is hilarious and has an introspective nature to it. The story is told with honesty that can be best described as innocent. I enjoyed how much he mixes the spiritual and reality.
From the outlandish characters to the ones we recognise in the pages. I’m not a child of the 80s, the era in which the book is set, but I recognised many of the characters in the book. The village gossip, the ‘prophet’, the teacher that loves his cane a little too much, nicknamed Mr. Bend.
The other wonderful surprise in this book was the beautiful poetry that was featured in throughout the book. Each poem was inspired by an event happening the author.
In a world where we are made to admire a standard of life that is somewhat out of our reach, finding our true authentic selves is usually frowned upon. This may be because our true selves and what we are passionate about may be unsavoury to society and it’s standards.
Before I give away much of the book’s plot, again I ask, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known? This is a page-turner. I think, in my case, I’ve reached the point of becoming a disciple, not just fan.
This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.
For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.