This book is so amazing that I'm willing to forgive a few weighty sins -- like how the narrator comes to know so much detail events in the lives of people he avoids. The story, which covers the life of Mugezi and many members of his extended family, is interwoven into a history of pre- and post-Amin Uganda. The first half of the book, his life through late adolescence, is by far the strongest. As the second half concentrates more on the nation during that tumultuous period, the novel becomes more didactic. It's not clear if this is meant to be ironic as the narrator does his best to avoid politics. Where the book fails is in the characterization of women. Their behavior--cattiness, passive-aggressiveness, or surprising retreat from an easily won conflict--make sense, but the author tredges into places he clearly doesn't understand when he tries to explain their motivation.