Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
“Baingana looks at contemporary Uganda in a way comparable to Edwidge Danticat’s approach to Haiti’s recent history. Tropical Fish makes the debut of a similarly unflinching, graceful new voice.”–David Anthony Durham, author of Gabriel’s Story and Walk Through Darkness
*Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Africa region
*Winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Award Series in Short Fiction
*Winner of the Washington Writing Prize for Short Fiction
*Finalist for the Caine Prize in African Writing
In her fiction debut, Doreen Baingana follows a Ugandan girl as she navigates the uncertain terrain of adolescence. Set mostly in pastoral Entebbe with stops in the cities Kampala and Los Angeles, Tropical Fish depicts the reality of life for Christine Mugisha and her family after Idi Amin’s dictatorship.
Three of the eight chapters are told from the point of view of Christine’s two older sisters, Patti, a born-again Christian who finds herself starving at her boarding school, and Rosa, a free spirit who tries to “magically” seduce one of her teachers. But the star of Tropical Fish is Christine, whom we accompany from her first wobbly steps in high heels, to her encounters with the first-world conveniences and alienation of America, to her return home to Uganda.
As the Mugishas cope with Uganda’s collapsing infrastructure, they also contend with the universal themes of family cohesion, sex and relationships, disease, betrayal, and spirituality. Anyone dipping into Baingana’s incandescent, widely acclaimed novel will enjoy their immersion in the world of this talented newcomer.
More Praise for Tropical Fish....
“… richly detailed… lush with cultural commentary.”—Publishers Weekly
“Tropical Fish is an incandescence; it is a dream; it is a letter from a lover; it is a book of enormous beauty.”– Junot Diaz, author of Drown
“Tropical Fish is extraordinary for a number of reasons. It follows the separate fates of sisters who begin their lives together in the town of Entebbe in Uganda. The prose is rich in specifics unknown to most of us, but what is truly dazzling is the way this brilliance of detail mounts into rare, subtle, surprising drama. These are memorable stories, fiercely fair, the work of a large talent.”–Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories
“I urge you to read this book straight through from ‘Green Stones’ to ‘Questions of Home,’ for in doing so you will discover a powerful novel that happens to be rendered in short stories rather than chapters, something I called the ‘novita.’ Tropical Fish is one of the finest novitas I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading….Doreen Baingana shows mastery of language, a painter’s eye for detail, and a compassion so deep, I imagine her heart has no bottom.”–Reginald McKnight, author of He Sleeps: A Novel
“Doreen Baingana’s stories movingly communicate the complicated social and emotional process of re-rooting. Open-eyed and unsentimental, her faith in self – in life – is evident and affecting.”–Linda Swanson-Davies, coeditor of Glimmer Train Stories