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Monday, 26 December 2011

Book Review: Doreen Baingana's 'Tropical Fish: Tales from Entenbe'

Tropical fish is a collection of eight linked short stories that follows three sisters (Rosa, Patti and Christine) in Uganda. Three of the eight chapters are dedicated to Patti, the born-again older sister, who tells of her time at an all girls' boarding school, and Rosa, the middle and more sexual sister, who tries to 'magically' seduce a teacher and writes a letter to an ex-lover. The star of the book is the youngest sister, Christine. We follow Christine's life from childhood when she plays pretend in her parents' bedroom, to adolescence when she wobbles in her high heels and gets here first kiss, to her emigration to the U.S. and eventual return to Uganda.


Themes of sexuality, love, friendship, religion, disease, immigration, and re-integration are explored in Baingana's debut novel. I found the stories getting better as it went along and the strength of the novel lies in the way Doreen Baingana portrays the struggle of young women in Africa. It was a pleasure to read.


3.5 out of 5 stars.

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