Running the Rift

Naomi Benaron. Algonquin, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61620-042-8
Set in the years leading up to the Rwanda genocide, Benaron’s Bellweather Prize–winning debut novel follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, “the jewel in Rwanda’s crown,” a Tutsi boy with a gift for running. Jean Patrick dreams of representing Rwanda in the Olympics, but must contend with abject poverty, an ethnic quota system, and savage bullying. He runs Olympic-qualifying times, moving closer to his dreams as tensions rise between the governing Hutus and the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Force), a Tutsi-led rebel army. Jean Patrick gains the favor of the president, but falls in love with a journalism student participating in antigovernment activism, and finds himself entangled in a vast and calamitous game of political chess. “Something unimaginable is coming,” warns his brother, a rebel soldier, and when the long-smoldering tensions between the Hutus and Tutsis erupt into a hellish conflagration, Jean Patrick must run away from the country he has spent his life running for. Benaron accomplishes the improbable feat of wringing genuine loveliness from unspeakable horror. She renders friendships and families with tenderness and sincerity, and lingers on the goodwill that binds a fractious community, even as those tethers grow taut and, finally, snap. She regards even the genocidaires with clear-eyed charity, allowing moral complexity to color the perversity of their deeds. It is a testament to Benaron’s skill that a novel about genocide—about neighbors and friends savagely turning on one another—conveys so profoundly the joys of family, friendship, and community. This powerful novel recounts inhumanity on a scale scarcely imaginable, yet rebukes its nihilism, countering unforgivable violence with small mercies and unyielding hope. (Jan. 17)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 663 pages - 978-1-4104-4617-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-61174-566-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61587-854-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-61620-194-4
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-85168-921-7
Ebook - 504 pages - 978-1-4434-0973-5
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-61620-123-4
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-61620-187-6
Paperback - 365 pages - 978-1-4434-0971-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-37839-8
Paperback - 504 pages - 978-1-4434-0972-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-61174-567-2
Ebook - 590 pages - 978-1-78074-078-2
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X