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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,813 ratings  ·  472 reviews
Uganda’s history reimagined through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan in an award-winning debut.

In 1750, Kintu Kidda unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. In this ambitious tale of a clan and of a nation, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu’s descendants as they seek to break from the burden of their shared past and reconcile the inhe
Paperback, 442 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Kwani Trust (first published 2014)
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GS Yes, I had the same thought! Had to keep google maps open the whole time I was reading, and even then i couldn’t locate a few places. Google translate…moreYes, I had the same thought! Had to keep google maps open the whole time I was reading, and even then i couldn’t locate a few places. Google translate fared atrociously badly when it came to translations, too.. but I could figure out a decent bit from context & repeated use within the book itself.
As to why these are not included, the answer is in the introduction by the publisher - this book was written for Ugandans & not for a western audience; so presumably this knowledge was taken for granted. As the publisher says “As with any great work of fiction, this one teaches you how to read it”.. (less)
Lalagè After reading the whole book I understand that this family tree should not be taken too literally: the line below the four twins stands for more than …moreAfter reading the whole book I understand that this family tree should not be taken too literally: the line below the four twins stands for more than one generation!(less)

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Sean Barrs
Kintu opens with unbridled authority and mercilessness. In just a few pages a man has been hunted down by an angry mob in Uganda. He is then brained with a concrete slab; his woman is left in widowhood and has the hard task of dealing with her man's debt. Blood flows easily, and quickly, when your family's steps are haunted by a curse that spans generations.

I found this such an effective piece of storytelling, the idea that the history of our ancestors never full leaves us and has the potential
Brown Girl Reading
This is Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi's debut novel. Kintu is a Ugandan novel that tells the story of Kintu's lineage and the curse that inflicts them. The novel is like a story inside a story inside of another story. We learn about the generations while becoming acquainted with Ugandan culture. Each character is crafted realistically and the points of magical realism are introduced at just the right moments in the story. Makumbi doesn't forget to make us laugh despite the seriousness throughout th ...more
Resh (The Book Satchel)
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kintu is a complex yet compelling read.

Kintu takes place in the Buganda kingdom (today's Uganda). Kintu Kidda, the leader (Ppookino) of the Buddu Province, travels with a group of men to swear loyalty to the new king (kabaka) of the entire Buganda kingdom in 1750. He is a wise governor and has his own share of worries at home because of his multiple wives. He accidentally kills his adopted son, Kalema, in this journey and this affect his family and also sparks a curse that befall his descendants
I read this book in preparation for a book group discussion at Five Leaves later this month, and it is the first Ugandan book I have read. On the whole I found it quite enjoyable, though I must admit I struggled a little with its central premise.

The book is divided into long chapters. The first starts in 1750, and tells the story of Kintu, the prince in charge of Buddu, a large province in the south of Buganda (this appears to contradict Wikipedia's article on Buddu, which says it was the last p
Book Riot Community
Ohhhhhhhh, my friends, get ready for this one. It’s a Commonwealth Prize-winning story about the Kintu Kidda’s clan in Uganda and the centuries-long history of the family’s “cursed bloodline,” starting in 1750. Makumbi breaks the book up into six parts and details the lives of Kintu’s descendants and what it means to live in the shadow of the curse a they try to carve out their own futures. What a fantastic read!

Backlist bump: I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (Another ama
1750 Buddu Province, Buganda

Kintu is the name of a clan, the original clan elder Kintu Kidda fell in love with Nnakato, an identical twin (the younger) and her family refuse to allow him to marry her unless he married her sister Babirye first. He refused. They resisted. He relented.
Kintu's mind lingered on the primal conflict that led to a soul splitting into twins. No matter how he looked at it, life was tragic. If the soul is at conflict even at this remotest level of existence, what chance do
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Magnificent. Epic. Flawless. I do not drop those adjectives lightly. They have been earned in this masterpiece novel that spans several generations of the Kintu clan, from the origins of the curse laid upon the clan to the present-day descendants. And on this generational journey, Makumbi brings to life the culture of Uganda.

First, I have to say thanks to a fellow Goodreads reader whose forays into contemporary African literature have always left me inspired to explore more than just the classic
Raul Bimenyimana
I had been meaning to read this book for a long time. It's a book that was known and discussed about in Nairobi literary circles sometime before it was published, it deservedly won the Kwani? Manuscript project in 2013 and was published the following year to great acclaim. Yet year after year, with some shame and guilt, I never read it. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi even attended the literary crossroads program which happened in mid-year 2017 hosted by the Goethe Institut in Nairobi, I was in the a ...more
Eric Anderson
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel “Kintu” by debut novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has been frequently compared to Yaa Gyasi’s hugely popular “Homegoing” because of its structure as an African family epic. However, “Homegoing” begins in the Gold Coast of West Africa (now Ghana) and “Kintu” takes place in the Buganda kingdom (today known as the Republic of Uganda). Makumbi’s ambitious tale begins in 1750 when Kintu Kidda, the leader (Ppookino) of the Buddu Province, travels with a group of men to swear loyalty to th ...more
Bill Khaemba
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-2018
Deemed "The greatest Ugandan Novel" I can definitely see why it is so highly praised, immediately after I opened the introduction my senses were alive, I was pulled in and engulfed in the multilayered family saga that starts from 1750 following the life of Kintu Kidda and his generation up to modern-day Uganda. Divided into Six sections we see how a curse unleashed on Kintu's family plagues the coming generation.
Makumbi brings something fresh to the "Family Saga genre" in that she doesn't rely
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
3.5 stars. Absolutely wonderful opening and brilliant passages throughout, but it didn't end up coming together in a cohesive way. ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I absolutely agree with the other reviewers saying this should be compulsory reading for humans. At minimum: freshman year read for university students or enter the cannon of literature greats for any intro course.

Makumbi is a brilliant writer--the prose is gorgeous but it isn't flashy and I love her for that. It is in that way deeply inviting, easy to read, but still quite entrancing. Her short story "Let's Tell This Story Properly" evidences the same style.

I read this book easily even as I was
Daniel Shindler
Sep 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Kintu” is an ambitious novel that merges folklore, oral tradition and a family saga to create a panorama of Ugandan history. The loosely connected stories of one clan ultimately coalesce and afford the reader a unique perspective on the development of this country.

Organized in six different sections, the novel opens in 2004 with the murder of Kimu Kintu, who is senselessly assaulted by an angry rabble.His story is briefly told throughout the book and serves as a connecting thread for the storie
Oh my gosh, Kintu.

I was going write my own summary of it but shied away from doing so. I didn’t want to give away too much. Plus, that summary I found on Goodreads does a decent job of succinctly stating what the story is about without giving anything away. To make this review easier on myself, I’ll do it a bit differently and structure it based on my reading experience with the book. Starting with…

Why I read it

Prior to seeing Kintu on the new books shelf at my library, I had never before heard
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this Ugandan novel for #readaroundtheworldbookclub and it was really great. Did I understand all of it? No. I always compare books written on the backbone of a completely different culture to travel. You come to this completely new place. A lot of the things are a bit strange, some are exciting, some unsettling. You have the choice to either accept and experience it all or push back and reject. No different with a book really. I lack the cultural key to truly judge the book. My key opens ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
4.5 stars

This is a big, ambitious book, relating the story of an extended family that begins with a patriarch in 1750 and then jumps ahead to 2004, tracing the fortunes of his descendants in modern Uganda. It’s been much discussed as a very Ugandan book, written for local readers and enjoying massive popularity there, but it’s an excellent novel with much to offer international readers as well.

The story begins in the old kingdom of Buganda, where Kintu Kiddu, a governor, journeys to the capital
Jonathan Pool
Jun 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international

Tracing a period in time which starts in 1750 though to the 1980’s, the Kintu clan are direct descendants of the founding father of Buganda (the creation myth) of Kintu Kidda. Five main characters, living their lives in modern Buganda, are drawn together to address long standing curses and bad fortune which seem to follow them.
Anchored by Kamu Kintu in 2004 the book comes out of the blocks dramatically and each individual 'book' draws on Kamu to connect with the events two hundred and fi
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
About a family curse that follows generations of the Kintu clan from the 1850’s to 2004, this book provides a foray into the lives of various descendants and a view into what happens when they all come together to address the curse. I fell in love with each story, and also got a snapshot of Uganda past and present, and the specific ways that colonialism has been a poison to Uganda, and the ways that people are holding together their ancestral knowledge as well. The book looked at so many social ...more
Carmel Hanes
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this unusual read.

This was an interesting book with a somewhat challenging format. As the introduction states, it was written for Ugandans, not for white readers in the United States or Europe. As such, it offers a glimpse into a culture quite different from the one that shaped me, and one that is hard to capture within a finite review.

The story introduces and follows multiple members of a family through several generations. The ancestral lines are blurred and curvy, adding to unc
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed here:

"I am always more impressed by the language of a book: how words are woven together to deliver the stories, than the themes. The words are what make me pause and go over a paragraph, just so I can get as much pleasure from it as was intended. When it comes to language, Makumbi delivers beautifully. The book is sprinkled with enough Luganda not to turn off any non-Luganda speaker and yet enough to make the book very authentic to the place wher
Leslie Reese
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-authors
4.5 stars
Epic and original; a complex blend of history, language, myth, tradition, and modernity. Even though it is specifically Ugandan, reading Kintu also reminded me of books like the Bible - because of the way it illustrates how human beings continue to wrestle with events, actions, and prayers (and curses!) set into play by ancestors; and Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing - because it deals with non-western beliefs regarding twins, and mental health issues. It also reminded me that when I first read Ga
Britta Böhler
Not quite for me, unfortunately. The best part for me was the beginning in the 1750, and I wish the book had stayed with that storyline.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fascinating read told from multiple perspectives of distant relatives, beginning with their common ancestor and his misdeeds leading to a curse that plagued them and in the end draws them together. My favorite characters were Suubi and Bweeza. This 400+ page book read fairly quickly and the last 1/4 of the book I did not want to put it down. I read this as part of #kinuinjuly with Read Soul Lit. I definitely want to read Makumbi’s further novels.
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a complex novel that tells the story of Uganda through several generations of the descendants of Kintu Kidda. It begins in 1750 when Kintu Kidda unintentionally kills his adopted son. In doing so, he unleashes a curse that haunts his family for generations.

Leaping forward to the 21st century, we are introduced to the many descendants in Kintu’s clan. Each character has a personal story whose life has been impacted by the curse in its varied manifestations.
Definitely a winner.

This is a book that you just immerse yourself in, because Makumbi doesn’t make it straightforward in time and since she is writing for Ugandans, not Western readers, you are at sea in the culture. But gradually stories and beliefs begin to cohere. Although I remained of two minds about whether there is a spirit world that actually affects events, or the problems are based in our modern factual and scientific understanding of the world. In a very good article/interview at Stra
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a sprawling work of fiction laced with history! My favorite thing about this story is honestly the history. It's a bit more mythical than I'd expected, but I am fascinated anew by heritage. Kintu left me wishing I could trace my own lineage and return to the places my ancestors began in the 1700's.

When Kintu accidentally kills his adopted son, a curse is unleashed on his entire lineage. The curse manifests mostly as mental illnesses. This is concerning to me because obviously this is part
Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book should be compulsory reading for every human being. For Ugandans: we should decide that those who have not read it are no longer Ugandans (do not throw stones yet), I have reviewed the book for two separate publications, see and - there maybe spoilers (there are spoilers in the reviews, especially the second one, but not too many. ...more
Big Al
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, 2017
I'm a sucker for multigenerational family epics, especially when there's a curse at the centre of the story. I wasn't always dazzled by the plot or characters, but I enjoyed learning so much about Ugandan history/culture. Might appeal to readers who liked Homegoing, but this one is not written with a Western audience in mind. That can make for some challenges (keeping track of the characters is tricky), but it's also a great strength of this novel. ...more
dianne (off seeking immunity)
This, Makumbi’s Very First Novel, is the story of a Ganda family whose ancestors had been cursed, told through generations that reflect the diversity, courage, temerity and creativity needed to survive - and sometimes to die - in a place where laughter is so much sweeter, heat is so much hotter, and now is so much more immediate - because tomorrow is so much less certain.

This Very First Novel tells much of the history of the made up country of Uganda. Not a made up people, of course, but a rando
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel Kintu starts with a Ugandan family who accepts a foreigner into their midst and is cursed when he dies. Author Jennifer Makumbi traces the lineage through 250 years, following the manifestation of the curse through the generations as we meet various branches of the family and circle around several characters' lives deciding how we feel about each one. The plot was brilliant in conception and execution, dealing with themes like immigration, mythology, religion, politics and colonization ...more
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Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a Ugandan novelist and short story writer, has a PhD from Lancaster University.

Her first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani Manuscript Prize in 2013 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. Her story "Let's Tell This Story Properly" won the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

She is currently working on her second novel and a collection of short stories, Travel is

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