The Rebels' Hour

The Rebels' Hour

by Lieve Joris
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Lieve Joris has long been considered “one of the best journalists in the world” (Libération, France) and in The Rebels’ Hour she illuminates the dark heart of contemporary Congo through the prism of one lonely, complicated man—a rebel leader named Assani who becomes a high-ranking general in the Congolese army. As we navigate

Overview

Lieve Joris has long been considered “one of the best journalists in the world” (Libération, France) and in The Rebels’ Hour she illuminates the dark heart of contemporary Congo through the prism of one lonely, complicated man—a rebel leader named Assani who becomes a high-ranking general in the Congolese army. As we navigate the chaos of his lawless country alongside him, the pathologically evasive Assani stands out in relief as a man who is both monstrous and sympathetic, perpetrator and victim.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A narrative account of war in the Congo from Belgian journalist Joris (Mali Blues: Traveling to an African Beat, 1998). "This book," writes Joris, "is based on real characters, situations, and places, without ever coinciding with them completely." "Assani," the main character, is modeled after a soldier Joris met in 1998 in Lubumbashi, an African mining town. Assani is a cowherd whose forebears came from Rwanda; his family followed the good grazing to land that eventually became the Congo. There, Assani and his extended family would have been happy to live in peace, raising cattle and traveling down to the lowlands only for educational opportunities and to trade. But Assani is not allowed to go about his life as his deceased father and many uncles did. Instead, while traveling to school, he is identified as a former Rwandan and a Tutsi, the perceived enemy of his country's despotic ruler, Mobutu. He does not choose war as much as war chooses him, particularly as travel between school and home becomes increasingly dangerous. The author explores Assani's early life and shows us what kind of man he has become-smart, but traumatized, a general in the victorious army who has returned to the capital to try to right his savaged country while salvaging something of a life for himself. The episodes Joris illustrates are striking. At a school, a Hutu professor introduces the class to anti-Semitic literature, then goes on to declare that the "Tutsis were exactly like the Jews," prompting Hutu students to begin chanting, "The only good Tutsi is a dead Tutsi!" But despite the inherent drama of the stories, too much is relayed in various third-person voices. "He was a Munyamulenge. She recognized theaccent," we are told, but the accent is never described. The result is flat, the impact diminished. Lackluster storytelling dampens the effect of the strong reporting. Agent: Sarah Lutyens/Lutyens & Rubenstein
From the Publisher

“Much more than a portrait of a Congolese herd boy who becomes an important military man, THE REBELS' HOUR is the portrait of a vast and chaotic country in a state of near-anarchy. I have long admired Ms Joris's African books, but this one is both powerful and timely, intensely imagined.”—Paul Theroux

“In Joris' book, the smell of threat is everywhere . . . [The Rebels' Hour] offer[s] glimpses of a man who has internalized the conflict in Congo. Joris offers a fresh view of a country, smack in the heart of Africa, that has been obscure to too much of the English-speaking world.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[The Rebels' Hour] is so well researched and so beautifully written that it helps us enormously to understand the reality of today’s Congo and the political complexities that have led to the emergence of current Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.”—The Globe and Mail (Canada)

The Rebels’ Hour by Lieve Joris, the great Belgian travel writer . . . [is] a book that achieves intense intimacy with a few characters to represent a much more immense historical experience. . . . It is as deeply reported and directly observed as the very best nonfiction.”—The New Yorker (online)

“This is much more than the story of a single man. . . . It is the story of a people living in a state given over to anarchy where friends and neighbors become deadly enemies. . . . [A] close-up portrait of a man in charge of the unspeakable.”—Good Book Guide (UK)

“Meticulously researched.”—Mia Farrow

“[The Rebels’ Hour] novel-like structure does not just make complex issues accessible; at times it makes them sing. . . . This is an intelligent and at times beautiful reckoning of one of the great human dramas of our age.”—The Telegraph (UK)

“An exhaustively researched, colorfully executed look at war-torn Congo . . . A profound portrait of a man and his times, [The Rebels’ Hour] . . . is a bare, honest, and powerful tableau that illuminates the African dilemma in hauntingly personal terms.”—Publishers Weekly

“A compelling, blood-soaked portrait of a young Tutsi rebel who rose to become one of the leading generals in the Congolese Army.”—Details

“A close-up and illuminating look at ethic strife.”—Booklist

“Lieve Joris is of the caliber of Naipaul or Ryszard Kapuscinski, 50% traveler, 50% journalist, 100% writer.”—Elle (France)

“Lieve Joris is a superb portrait painter, getting at fundamental questions through characters and people.”—Le Monde (France)

“The most striking thing about Joris is her way of relating major history by accumulating little stories. . . . [She] has that rare ability to follow both paths, the general and the particular, the panorama and the close-up, the analysis and the narrative, without ever losing track of either. . . . Through the tale of Assani, a young cowherd turned rebel chief, The Rebels’ Hour recounts the history of the Congo over the past forty years. . . . Assani belongs to this generation of young men who have pursued their studies in order to escape their village, but who have headed back into the bush to take up arms. . . . Joris scrutinizes everyone at the right level, straight in the eyes, never generalizing, giving everyone the right to individuality. . . . It’s the only tenable position in Africa, where the Western gaze is so often displaced, obscured by Afro-pessimist cynicism or embellished by Afro-optimist illusions.”—Libération (France)

“What Lieve Joris does is not so much field research as the literary vivisection of contemporary history. . . . The Rebels’ Hour is of great value because it intimately mixes the continuing humanitarian and political tragedy of Central Africa with the sad, touching, and thrilling life story of a man plunged into complicated and hostile surroundings.”—Septentrion (Belgium)
“The portrait of the Congo that emerges from [The Rebels’ Hour] is closer to reality than all political analyses; the approach to actual facts, conveyed without indulgence or prejudice, seems more honest than the majority of academic studies. The Little Prince said, ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.’ Lieve Joris’s vision isn’t only right, it’s indispensable.”—Le Soir (Belgium)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555848583
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/22/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Much more than a portrait of a Congolese herd boy who becomes an important military man, THE REBELS' HOUR is the portrait of a vast and chaotic country in a state of near-anarchy. I have long admired Ms Joris's African books, but this one is both powerful and timely, intensely imagined.”—Paul Theroux

“In Joris' book, the smell of threat is everywhere . . . [The Rebels' Hour] offer[s] glimpses of a man who has internalized the conflict in Congo. Joris offers a fresh view of a country, smack in the heart of Africa, that has been obscure to too much of the English-speaking world.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[The Rebels' Hour] is so well researched and so beautifully written that it helps us enormously to understand the reality of today’s Congo and the political complexities that have led to the emergence of current Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.”—The Globe and Mail (Canada)

The Rebels’ Hour by Lieve Joris, the great Belgian travel writer . . . [is] a book that achieves intense intimacy with a few characters to represent a much more immense historical experience. . . . It is as deeply reported and directly observed as the very best nonfiction.”—The New Yorker (online)

“This is much more than the story of a single man. . . . It is the story of a people living in a state given over to anarchy where friends and neighbors become deadly enemies. . . . [A] close-up portrait of a man in charge of the unspeakable.”—Good Book Guide (UK)

“Meticulously researched.”—Mia Farrow

“[The Rebels’ Hour] novel-like structure does not just make complex issues accessible; at times it makes them sing. . . . This is an intelligent and at times beautiful reckoning of one of the great human dramas of our age.”—The Telegraph (UK)

“An exhaustively researched, colorfully executed look at war-torn Congo . . . A profound portrait of a man and his times, [The Rebels’ Hour] . . . is a bare, honest, and powerful tableau that illuminates the African dilemma in hauntingly personal terms.”—Publishers Weekly

“A compelling, blood-soaked portrait of a young Tutsi rebel who rose to become one of the leading generals in the Congolese Army.”—Details

“A close-up and illuminating look at ethic strife.”—Booklist

“Lieve Joris is of the caliber of Naipaul or Ryszard Kapuscinski, 50% traveler, 50% journalist, 100% writer.”—Elle (France)

“Lieve Joris is a superb portrait painter, getting at fundamental questions through characters and people.”—Le Monde (France)

“The most striking thing about Joris is her way of relating major history by accumulating little stories. . . . [She] has that rare ability to follow both paths, the general and the particular, the panorama and the close-up, the analysis and the narrative, without ever losing track of either. . . . Through the tale of Assani, a young cowherd turned rebel chief, The Rebels’ Hour recounts the history of the Congo over the past forty years. . . . Assani belongs to this generation of young men who have pursued their studies in order to escape their village, but who have headed back into the bush to take up arms. . . . Joris scrutinizes everyone at the right level, straight in the eyes, never generalizing, giving everyone the right to individuality. . . . It’s the only tenable position in Africa, where the Western gaze is so often displaced, obscured by Afro-pessimist cynicism or embellished by Afro-optimist illusions.”—Libération (France)

“What Lieve Joris does is not so much field research as the literary vivisection of contemporary history. . . . The Rebels’ Hour is of great value because it intimately mixes the continuing humanitarian and political tragedy of Central Africa with the sad, touching, and thrilling life story of a man plunged into complicated and hostile surroundings.”—Septentrion (Belgium)
“The portrait of the Congo that emerges from [The Rebels’ Hour] is closer to reality than all political analyses; the approach to actual facts, conveyed without indulgence or prejudice, seems more honest than the majority of academic studies. The Little Prince said, ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.’ Lieve Joris’s vision isn’t only right, it’s indispensable.”—Le Soir (Belgium)

Meet the Author

Joris was born in Belgium. One of Europe's leading travel writers, she has published widely-acclaimed books on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. She lives in Amsterdam.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >