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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,053 ratings  ·  197 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, 432 pages
Published October 4th 2018 by One World (first published 2014)
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Mariam Yes, he did. He punched him so hard on the jaw and that is what killed him
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,053 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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
Resh (The Book Satchel)
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
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
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive debut novel, which takes place across three centuries and multiple generations in what would eventually be called Uganda. The first major event is the sudden violent death of a man named Kamu, beaten to death by a mob. Then the story jumps back to the 18th century, concerning a distant relative of his clan, a provincial governor paying tribute to a new king. In a fit of rage, he slaps his adoptive son, a Rwandan, in the back of the head, and the boy falls dead. He is buried hastily ...more
En 1750 Kintu Kidda, el jefe de uno de los reinos de Buganda y patriarca del clan Kintu, desencadena una maldición que arrastrará a todos sus descendientes.
En 2004, ellos tratarán de reunir a todo el clan para acabar con años de infortunios.

Ese es el argumento base de Kintu, pero la novela es mucho, mucho, muchísimo más.
Dividida en 6 secciones en las que en cada una acompañamos a un descendiente distinto, poco a poco y a través de ellos vamos viendo cómo esa maldición es la excusa perfecta para
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
Claire McAlpine
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
Bill Khaemba
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
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
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
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
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Afoma Umesi
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Big Al
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, africa
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.
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
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shawn Mooney
Abandoned just past the 30% mark. The novel wasn't holding my interest enough to read another 300 pages. The initial story about the tribal chief Kintu in the mid-18th century was riveting, but the more modern story was decidedly less so, and I felt the depiction of how the "curse" played out in successive generations was uninteresting and ham-handedly done.
Tumelo Moleleki
Amazing story and the writer never confused things. I was however confused when they spoke about Kiyiika and Kiyirika, like it was the same place just a typo on the one.
Jennifer Makumbi is an expert story teller; as I read this book, I was reminded of traditional oral story tellers, the ones who pass on a people's culture from one generation to another through tales. A story this elaborate could not have been woven by one with less prowess. I love the originality of it, and the way the story tells not just the political history of Uganda, but also the everyday issues they faced in the times depicted. It is said that good literature mirrors society.

However, the
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
If this hadn’t been chosen for my reading group, I probably wouldn’t have looked at this book twice. Having finished it, I am so thankful that it was drawn to my attention because Kintu is a such brilliant novel, and Makumbi is a talented writer.

I was told before I started that people were calling Makumbi the Ugandan Achebe, and they weren’t wrong! She set herself a mammoth task of creating a Ugandan epic following the lives of several branches of the Kintu Clan as they battle with the reality
Joel Benjamin Benjamin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. Separated in to six sections, book one retells the “true” story of Kintu Kidda, governor of Buddu Province as he is about to set off towards Kampala to give homage to the new king of Buganda in 1750. His journey, its repercussions and the stories that are told and retold for generations afterwards will have a lasting influence on the Kintu clan. The following books in the novel recount the 21st century lives of four of Kintu’s decedents in modern Uganda and how they hav ...more
~Thief was the president who arrived two and a half decades ago waving "democracy" at them, who had recently laughed, "Did I actually say democracy? I was so naive then."~

~Clever women did not declare their sons princes. Cleverer women watched the throne and alerted their sons when it was ripe for seizure.~

~Princesses are like wind-they blow this way and blow that way. You don't want to blow with them.~

~A sexually satisfied woman is a good wife.~

~When a nation has plenty and peace reigns, foreig
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweeping novel of UGANDA

Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2019 (Fiction, With A Sense of Place)

This is the rich story of Kintu Kidda and his descendants. It is also in part a story of Uganda.

Kintu Kiddu accidentally kills an adoptive son and the far reaching curse, meted out by his birth father, reverberates over the following centuries as descendants die and new generations proliferate.

The lands of Buganda, a part of Uganda that has seen a fair amount of upheaval, form t
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kintu is a beautiful and challenging read. It's been described as "the great Ugandan novel you didn't know you were waiting for" and for good reason. Kintu traces the centuries long history of the Kintu clan, a clan that carries a curse. The curse manifests differently across the generations and it is interesting to look at Ugandan history from the Ganda perspective, a history that didn't begin when the first white man arrived. Makumbi pulls no punches in this novel, addressing controversial iss ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous writing and thoughtful, subtle treatment of Big Ideas, including the conflict between belief/faith and rational knowledge, the meaning and definition of family, the burdens of patriarchy, the history of Uganda, and so much more. I definitely want to re-read at some point.
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Aaron Bady in The New Inquiry 2 11 Mar 17, 2019 03:03AM  
Great African Reads: * Sept-Oct: 2017 | Uganda: Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi 17 74 Dec 02, 2017 04:06AM  
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  • Baho!
  • A Bit of Difference
  • House of Stone
  • Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance
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  • Coming to Birth
  • Dust
  • Dance of the Jakaranda
  • Season of Crimson Blossoms
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  • Born on a Tuesday
  • The Hundred Wells of Salaga
  • African Love Stories: An Anthology
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  • La bastarda
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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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“The image Miisi had constructed in Britain of the noble African rooted in his cultural values shunning westernization was a myth. What he returned to were people struggling to survive, who in the process had lost the ability to discern the vivid colours of right and wrong. Anything that gave them a chance to survive was moral.” 1 likes
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