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A Girl is a Body of Water

About the Book

A Girl is a Body of Water

International award-winning author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s novel is a sweeping and powerful portrait of a young girl and her family: who they are, what history has taken from them, and --- most importantly --- how they find their way back to each other.

In her 12th year, Kirabo, a young Ugandan girl, confronts a piercing question that has haunted her childhood: Who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small village of Nattetta --- her grandmother, her best friend and her many aunts, but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Complicating these feelings of abandonment, as Kirabo comes of age she feels the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her at odds with her sweet and obedient nature.

Seeking answers, Kirabo begins spending afternoons with Nsuuta, a local witch, trading stories and learning not only about this force inside her, but about the woman who birthed her, who she learns is alive but not ready to meet. Nsuuta also explains that Kirabo has a streak of the “first woman” --- an independent, original state that has been all but lost to women.

Kirabo’s journey to reconcile her rebellious origins, alongside her desire to reconnect with her mother and to honor her family’s expectations, is rich in the folklore of Uganda and an arresting exploration of what it means to be a modern girl in a world that seems determined to silence women. Makumbi’s unforgettable novel is a sweeping testament to the true and lasting connections between history, tradition, family, friends and the promise of a different future.

A Girl is a Body of Water
by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Tin House Books
  • ISBN-10: 1951142047
  • ISBN-13: 9781951142049