Isaac, (as he is known to readers) is an African exchange student in America living in a small, Midwestern town in the early 1970s. Readers learn the private history of his name by exploring the conflict-riddled capitol and villages of Uganda, and experience the revolution that carried Isaac to America.
Helen knows only the public legacy of the name, “Isaac,” or what little information she is given as his social worker. But there is much more to Isaac’s story than fits on a dossier, or can be learned in bed together.
This is lean writing. The language is sparse yet powerful, and the story touches on attitudes towards bi-racial relationships in America during the 1970s, as well as underscoring the bourgeois underbelly of the revolution in Uganda at that time. In the end, readers are left with the knowledge that “no one will have ever loved each other more than we did.”