Review

Review: We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

“As it turns out, my darling, wealth takes you to many places. I only wish you were here to see it.”

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Published: January 21, 2021
Rate: 3 ⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Synopsis
1960s UGANDA. Hasan struggles to keep his family business afloat following the sudden death of his wife. As he begins to put his shattered life back together piece by piece, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.

Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a heritage he never knew.

Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong.

My Take
We Are All Birds of Uganda is a book that I have wanted to read, ever since I saw it announced, and the cover! Aaah a good, beautiful cover is a sure way of getting me to read a book.

I really wanted to love this book. I truly did. For one, the historical aspect of it is phenomenal. I knew nothing about the Asian expulsion in Uganda, which is a major plot point in this book and an educative one for me. I went down the rabbit whole wanting to learn more. Another thing I liked was Hafsa’s writing. We Are All Birds of Uganda follows a dual narrative between 1960s Uganda and the present, which are quite different in tone. One might think it was written by two different people. In as much as I liked both narratives, I loved and favoured the grandfather’s (1960’s) more. So beautiful and lyrical is the writing, I wanted more.


What I didn’t like, everything else. Hafsa Zayyan gives us multiple plot lines that have no end, I had a hard time figuring out what exactuly the story line is. I couldn’t care for the characters and most importantly our main one, Sameer. I honestly could have done well without him. (give me more of the grandfather!!)
But the most annoying thing about this book, the one that made me super angry, is the ending. Its rushed and abrupt. It literally doesn’t make sense. I hate inconclusive stories especially one that gives me, as the reader, work.

“Kindness is painful.”


Hafsa Zayyan explores racism, British colonialism and what success means to different people. We Are All Birds of Uganda was an okay read for me but I expected more.


Have you read We Are All Birds of Uganda? What did you think about it?

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