The Times of Stories
The grant jury: A radical innocence infuses this luminous, beautifully wrought narrative of growing up amidst the violence of civil war. What surety of writing! And not just in the poetic beauty of individual sentences, but also in the mature control of the book’s structure. Despite the complexity of what Pacifique Irankunda has lived through, his voice is direct, the stories like pure running water on the page. As a child, this young Tutsi listened, rapt, to the stories the elders told before the oral tradition of thousands of years, long under threat from the encroachment of colonialization, was wiped out by war. In his peerless testimony, as transparent as it is true, he brings the reader into the deep waters of genocide, diaspora and the refugee experience. This will be recognized as one of the most astonishing debuts of a generation.