Small Country by Gael Faye

A young boy, with a French father and Rwandan mother, comes of age in Burundi during the ethnic clashes between Hutus and Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi in the 90’s. Gabriel lives in a French expatriate community, mostly safe and comfortable. When the civil war begins it appears he and his family will remain safe if they don’t meddle in the politics. Ultimately he finds he cannot keep himself insulated from the violence and finds the fighting encroaching on his neighborhood and his life. Faye effectively lets the reader feel the confusion and chaos from the boy’s perspective of the sudden shock and unreasonableness of an ethnic massacre. He sets the loss of innocence for one boy against the atrocities of a full scale genocide. This is a well told coming of age story amidst some of the most terrifying events in his country’s history.

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