“[W]hat is true of Rwanda is true in each of us; we all share in Africa.” —L’Harmattan
“[This novel] comes closer than have many political scientists or historians to trying to understand why this small country . . . sank in such appalling violence.” —Radio France International
In April of 1994, nearly a million Rwandans were killed in what would prove to be one of the swiftest, most terrifying killing sprees of the 20th century. In Murambi, The Book of Bones, Boubacar Boris Diop comes face to face with the chilling horror and overwhelming sadness of the tragedy. Now, the power of Diop’s acclaimed novel is available to English-speaking readers through Fiona Mc Laughlin’s crisp translation. The novel recounts the story of a Rwandan history teacher, Cornelius Uvimana, who was living and working in Djibouti at the time of the massacre. He returns to Rwanda to try to comprehend the death of his family and to write a play about the events that took place there. As the novel unfolds, Cornelius begins to understand that it is only our humanity that will save us, and that as a writer, he must bear witness to the atrocities of the genocide.
From the novel:
“If only by the way people are walking, you can see that tension is mounting by the minute. I can feel it almost physically. Everyone is running or at least hurrying about. I meet more and more passersby who seem to be walking around in circles. There seems to be another light in their eyes. I think of the fathers who have to face the anguished eyes of their children and who can’t tell them anything. For them, the country has become an immense trap in the space of just a few hours. Death is on the prowl. They can’t even dream of defending themselves. Everything has been meticulously prepared for a long time: the administration, the army, and the [militia] are going to combine forces to kill, if possible, every last one of them.”