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What to expect

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.

‘[An] incredible debut’ Stylist

‘Shah is excellent on the theme of home . . . an absorbing storyteller’ – Daily Mail

When you’re left with nothing but your secrets, how do you start again?

Uganda 1972

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.

Critics Review

  • An impressive, confident debut about family and survival, against the backdrop of a history that is not written about often enough.

    Nikesh Shukla
  • Devastatingly beautiful . . . every sentence is a revelation.

    Nikita Gill, author of The Girl and the Goddess
  • This is a novel about home, about belonging and exile; a compelling and complex insight into a recent past that still resonates.

    Irish Times
  • Shah explores the chaos and fear of ordinary people’s lives during Amin’s rule, weaving personal stories of love and betrayal into heightening tension and violence . . . nail-biting.

    Independent
  • Utterly heartbreaking and so moving . . . a thoughtful reflection on what home and belonging mean.

    Haleh Agar, author of Out of Touch
  • A moving portrayal of a family uprooted from a life they have worked so hard for. At times devastating, I found myself gripped to this story rooted in our history yet scarily still relevant.

    Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

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