The Fall and Rise of Lukiya’s Lover

The Fall and Rise of Lukiya's LoverThe Fall and Rise of Lukiya’s Lover by James E. Mutumba
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll start with the cover. It does absolutely nothing for the story, being quite unappealing in its simplicity. I like a cover that gives some sort of preview of the story about to unfold. A trio of coupled hearts over a blue and white scribbled background does nothing to entice the imagination. If I saw this sitting on a shelf I would bypass it for something more appealing and thereby miss out on a charming tale of love set in Africa. The story Rev. Mutumba delivers deserves something more visually representative of his ability to draw vivid characters to life.

Moving onward and into the text, I found the prologue to be more of a summary of the entire novel rather than of an introductory nature. I would have preferred to just be taken right to the story where I would have learned all these same things without prior expectation having been set for the events unfolding.

Also slightly disconcerting was the positioning of a sizable About the Author section to immediately follow the unnecessary prologue. Perhaps this may have been meant to explain the religious and spiritual nature of the story; Rev. Mutumba’s accreditation and other works are listed in detail to give a full picture of the man’s background and education in Divinity and Theology. Despite being placed at the forefront of the text rather than the end the information presented did serve as intended. I knew to expect both moral and ethical lessons and/or explorations and Rev. Mutumba properly delivered on each count.

I was particularly struck by how different the mindsets of Lukiya and John Fisher were in contrast to their American counterparts at the same stage in life. The cultural differences were apparent but not overtly so. Rev. Mutumba tells the story of two young people who meet in college and develop their romance almost systematically, prioritizing education and political success throughout. I was rather enchanted by how easily these two people seemed to come together. There was so little “noise” about their affair in the way that Americans go about their courtship.

Totaling 152 pages in length, the story covers the span of roughly four years of Lukiya’s and John Fisher’s lives. To encompass too much time, the story is more told than shown. We don’t get much voyeurism in Rev. Mutumba’s writing and probably rightly so. He’s communicating a religious, moral message here: in order to succeed in life you must strive for the best education possible so that you might gain a good job afterward. Only then should you put your mind to the business of marriage and even then as a serious contract between two God-loving people who are not only joining themselves in matrimony but also uniting two families and, potentially, villages.

Rev. Mutumba gives us all the high and low lights of Lukiya’s and John Fisher’s love affair with all the respect due to two people falling in love and have no idea their story is being told. I loved being granted a sort of secret look into marriage rites so foreign to those I have grown up with and even experienced. We Americans would do well to take notes and lessons from the concerns and questions raised as the couple sets about formalizing their relationship.

Overall I enjoyed the story for what it was.

Aside from the aforementioned concerns regarding the prologue and strangely placed “About the Author” section, I have a few more notable mentions that affected the rating given.

The text was strewn with formatting errors such as missing indents (pages 23, 24, 61 ) along with so many missing or misplaced quotation marks I gave up marking and counting them. It is fortunate I read so much that I automatically know where someone’s speech patterns end and the narration picks up; if I had been going by the punctuation as guide alone I would have been completely lost as to what was dialog and what wasn’t.

On page 53: “The meeting Okayed the draft letter with miner editing.” (This should be minor, not miner).

On page 100: “I am a happy man. I am literary like that man who said, ‘I was once lost, but I am now found.’ May God help me to be able one day to say this spiritually and be like Lukiya,” Lukiya’s father answered, half jokingly, half seriously. (Literally, not literary)

On page 101: “Good news! I am Starting work next week…” I wasn’t sure why the word starting was capitalized.

On page 109: It was more than just a crash on her. (Crush, not crash)

On page 110: So on one hand was Daniella,s charm and on the other was the disorientated young widows and the youthful orphans, all surrounding Lukiya’s fiancé in his new senior world. (Daniella’s, no comma)

On page 148: “But there is still another huddle you have to jump,” said the Master of Ceremonies to John Fisher’s spokesman. (Hurdle, not huddle)

On page 152: 1 .00 pm, (time format is wrong, should be 1:00 pm)

Lastly, there were a few word usages that stymied me at first, like “revising for exams” and the following example copied straight from the text: “The setting of the scene, coupled with the colorful congregation—the graduands in their various regalia, and the parents and guardians in their various choices of attire plus the officiators’ academic pomp,” Lukiya said and asked John Fisher what interested him most.

I learned after some quick research that “revising” is the British verb for what we Americans call “studying” and “graduands” is the British noun for “graduate”.

Also, the above example should be used to note the improper placement of quotations.

Due to the grammatical and punctuation errors I deducted two stars and gave The Fall and Rise of Lukiya’s Lover 4 out of 5 stars.

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