Shedding light on the British Asian-Ugandan history
- Book: We Are All Birds of Uganda
- Location: London, Uganda
- Author: Hafsa Zayyan
The story is set in two timelines in present day London where Sameer a successful lawyer is all set to take the next step in his career while in the 1960s Uganda Hasan who has just lost his wife is struggling with grief and as political events unfold, it seems like the world that he had built for family was about to come crashing down.
I loved how the past and the present narratives were juxtaposed together. The past traced the historical aspect whereas the present showed the consequences of that historical event on a personal level.
Loved the characters, especially the camaraderie of the close friends, which could have developed further, but then would have digressed from the main theme.
The love angle of Sameer and Miriam works well as a plot device, to explain how a directionless Sameer was drawn to the purposeful Miriam as opposed to the opulent materialistic life of Aaliyah.
I also loved reading the historical backdrop to Asians made their way to Uganda through Hasan, one of the principal characters. It was fascinating to read how Indians first made Uganda their home only to be banished from it. What is impressive is how instead of painting Indians as the victims, Zayan works towards a balanced perspective. This is reflected in the attitudes of Hasan towards Abdullah and in doing so adds a dimension to the popular historical narrative. A big highlight for me.
Over all, a compelling read and an interesting insight into British Asian-Ugandan history. One of my top reads, definitely!