Tierno Monénembo was among the African authors invited to Rwanda after the 1994 Tutsi-Hutu massacre to “write genocide into memory.” In his novel The Oldest Orphan, that is precisely what Monénembo does, to devastating effect. Powerful testimony to an unspeakable historical reality, this story is told by an adolescent on death row in a prison in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Dispassionately, almost cynically, the teenager Faustin tells his tale, alternating between his days in jail, his adventures wandering the countryside after his parents and most of the people of his village have been massacred, and his escapades as a cheerful hoodlum in the streets of Kigali. Only slowly does the full horror of his parents’ death and his own experience return to Faustin. His realization strikes the reader with shattering force, for it carries in its wake the impossible but inescapable questions presented by such a murderous episode of history and such a crippling experience for a child, a people, and a nation.
|Publisher:||UNP - Bison Books|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.75(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
<div><DIV><A <I Mogador’s Céleste of translator the and University State McNeese at languages modern professor a is Nagem Fleury Monique novels. seven author He 1973. in France settling before Morocco Algeria, Coast, Ivory Senegal, lived Monénembo Tierno Guinea, native>Memoirs of a Courtesan in Nineteenth-Century Paris</I> (Nebraska 2001). Adele King is a professor emerita of French at Ball State University and the editor of <I>From Africa: New Francophone Stories</I> (Nebraska 2004).</DIV></A></div>
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Oldest Orphan based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Monénembo wrote the The Oldest Orphan after he and other notable African Francophone authors were invited to Rwanda after the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi massacre as part of a project by Fest'Africa entitled 'Rwanda: Writing so as not to forget.'Faustin, the narrator of the novel, is a 15 year old orphan of the massacre, who is imprisoned and awaiting trial after he is convicted of murdering another orphan who is having sex with his sister. The dialogue shifts rapidly back and forth between the present and various events leading up to the massacre in his town and after he and his siblings are able to escape from it. He is benumbed by what he has experienced, and is unable to recall exactly what has happened to his family and neighbors. He, like Mersault in Camus' The Stranger, is free of remorse for his actions, and cannot comprehend why society views him as a monster, as guilty as the génocidaires who killed his parents.The story is infused with true events that occurred in the massacre, yet it is not an overly grisly tale. The focus is on the mind of Faustin, and how he loses touch with his siblings and those around him, until it is too late for anyone to save him.I enjoyed this book, as it was taut and well written, but the foglike character of the narrative made it somewhat difficult to identify with Faustin, his family or other victims of the massacre.