The Teeth May Smile But the Heart Does Not Forget
The stunning story of a Ugandan man’s quest for the truth about the murder of his father, who was killed during the reign of dictator Idi Amin.
There are better bets for one’s first book than Uganda. A faraway place, beset by exoticism and stereotype, the country doesn’t often make the bestseller list. And journalist Andrew Rice didn’t set out to write an easy book: The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget is an ambitious work of narrative journalism, the story of one man’s quest for the truth about the murder of his father, who was killed during the brutal reign of dictator Idi Amin.
But Rice’s debut may well do for Uganda what Philip Gourevitch did for Rwanda, or Adam Hochschild for colonial Congo: bring an unfamiliar place and its terrifying history to the forefront of the American imagination.
Duncan Laki was 9 years old when his father, a local leader named Eliphaz, disappeared one afternoon and, like thousands of other Ugandans, simply never came home. The son spent much of his life consumed by the need to know what happened. Eventually, by following a series of clues about his father’s prized Volkswagen Beetle, Duncan meets the guilty: two foot soldiers, under order from Amin’s No. 2 general, Yusuf Gowon.