When you’re left with nothing but your secrets, how do you start again?
A devastating decree is issued: all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days. They must take only what they can carry, give up their money and never return.
For Asha and Pran, married a matter of months, it means abandoning the family business that Pran has worked so hard to save. For his mother, Jaya, it means saying goodbye to the house that has been her home for decades. But violence is escalating in Kampala, and people are disappearing. Will they all make it to safety in Britain and will they be given refuge if they do?
And all the while, a terrible secret about the expulsion hangs over them, threatening to tear the family apart.
From the green hilltops of Kampala, to the terraced houses of London, Neema Shah’s extraordinarily moving debut Kololo Hill explores what it means to leave your home behind, what it takes to start again, and the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones.
Thought-Provoking & Satisfying Read!
Such an interesting read, reflecting on an awful period in history.
Asha and Pran are newlyweds, living with his parents in Uganda; things are, at best, unstable in a country led by a despot and when it is decreed that all Ugandan Asians must leave the country within the next ninety days they must make plans. It is with a heavy heart that Jaya must leave her marital home and Pran finds it difficult to face losing the family business which he has worked so hard to revitalise. With others disappearing in the country, do they have any choice?
This is a story which got right under my skin – Neema Shah writes a gripping story encompassing all members of the family. I well remember the rule of Idi Amin; my father was always keen on us being aware of world events and I remember talking about what was going on in Uganda when I was just a schoolgirl and being quite appalled at how he was treating the population of ‘his’ country. So, from the very start I was interested in the outcome of this family’s dilemma. It’s not all as straightforward as it seems though as there are other things to take into consideration and secrets are lurking. It’s fair to say that I have been glued to this one, eager to find out the family’s fate. There are some very tense moments and it’s not without a bit of heartbreak too but this author knows how to spin a tale and keep her readers hooked to the very end. An exciting, thought provoking and well-written novel and one which left me nodding my head in satisfaction. 4* and my recommendation to everyone who enjoys a cultural read.
My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: family life, historical fiction
- Format: ebook, hardcover, audiobook
- Size: 297 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan – Picador
- Publication Date: 18 February 2021
- Book Links:
Neema Shah’s parents and grandparents left India to make their homes in East Africa and later in London, where Neema was born and lives. Kololo Hill is her debut and was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award and the First Novel Prize. She is currently working on her second novel.
- Website: https://neemashah.com/
- Twitter: @NeemaMShah
- Facebook: @NeemaShahAuthor
- Instagram: @neemashahauthor