Dad couldn’t stop smiling as he demonstrated the trap’s operation. The inner workings were so efficient that it barely made a noise, just a faint click and a soft flourish like an umbrella being opened. Dad had designed the trap to accommodate a raccoon the size of a sheepdog, but he still worried that it might maim the creature if it wasn’t calibrated just right. Eventually he went into the garage to take from the deep freeze one of the birthday cakes he’d purchased for bait, placing it on my skateboard and rolling it to the middle of the platform. If the cake survived the trap he said we could celebrate by having it for dessert that night.
So writes Seth Fried as he takes us on a family’s strange and tender journey to capture a mischievous raccoon.
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi reminded me of García Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude but without the magical realism. Kintu is a multi-generational retelling through fiction of the growth and modernization of the area of Africa which we now call Uganda. Makumbi is an excellent new author and is herself Ugandan.
The story begins far in the past telling of the ancient tribal structures and a magical interpretation of life as you might expect from a primitive people. The myths and curses and magical events are all there, like in the García Marquez novel, but you never get the sense that they are anything but a primitive way of dealing with the events of life.