The Last King of Scotland
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Shortly after his arrival in Uganda, Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan is called to the scene of a bizarre accident: Idi Amin, careening down a dirt road in his red Maserati, has run over a cow. When Garrigan tends to Amin, the dictator, in his obsession for all things Scottish, appoints him as his personal physician. And so begins a fateful dalliance with the central African leader whose Emperor Jones-style autocracy would transform into a reign of terror.
In The Last King of Scotland Foden's Amin is as ridiculous as he is abhorrent: a grown man who must be burped like an infant, a self-proclaimed cannibalist who, at the end of his 8 years in power, would be responsible for 300,000 deaths. And as Garrigan awakens to his patient's baroque barbarism--and his own complicity in it--we enter a venturesome meditation on conscience, charisma, and the slow corruption of the human heart. Brilliantly written, comic and profound, The Last King of Scotland announces a major new talent.
after being released from a Kenyan prison. But he admitted that he had watched as a Ugandan doctor was tortured and killed by Amin’s thugs at the notorious State Research Bureau HQ in Kampala, the country’s capital. “I was there but I was a prisoner. I did nothing wrong. I merely did my job,” he said. He also denied knowing that a lion’s-head game trophy he delivered on Amin’s instructions to an aircraft at Entebbe airport contained a bomb that killed a businessman and his pilot. Dr. Garrigan,
trooper’s ways. Perhaps, beer on his breath, rifle leaning against the chair, he pierces Pepsi against her will, brushing aside a whimpered plea for payment. Or perhaps they make love with mutual joy and care, each softening like tallow the pain of the other’s hard life. Or perhaps the noble fellow means to spill his sons on the bed but sloppily forgets. That being so, did 300,000 deaths ensue from a single accident of birth, or would another tyrant have come, certain as the steam engine or
663.” There was an envelope tucked underneath the wiper. Inside, on official government paper with the crested-crane device, was a message. “Well done! The President has insisted you have this van as reward for expert treatment of his son. The keys are under the driver-side mat. I am sorry it is secondhand, but if you bring it to Cooper Motors they will remove the sign on the govt. account. Give my name. Wasswa, Minister of Health.” I was delighted, and my life in the city began to open up
nerve like a drop of milk in the center. In any case, nothing critical was wrong. I did have to drain an abcess in his throat at one point. He was quite anxious about that, as it was affecting his voice, making it higher. “Thank God you have done it, doctor,” he said, as I dabbed at the incision. “I might have died.” “I don’t think it was quite that serious,” I said, chuckling. “Mzaha, mzaha, hutumbuka usaha,” he countered. “Joke, joke, discharges pus.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Even a
had a piece of plate glass over some tired-looking covers. The front page of an old London Times, yellowing. And Drum: Africa’s Leading Magazine, with a picture of a woman in a leopard-skin coat. Farther along I saw a kid standing in the gutter in a pool of brown water. He was clad only in shorts, and his belly button stuck out like a press-stud. He looked up at me. “Muzungu,” he whispered, staring: not a greeting, not an invocation or an appeal or a protest. Just a statement. He repeated