Murambi, The Book of Bones

Murambi, The Book of Bones - Boubacar Boris Diop, Fiona McLaughlin Murambi is a novel produced as part of a Rwandan program to remember the genocide of 1994 – an event in which between 800,000 to 1,200,000 individuals were killed, most with weapons wielded by their neighbors. The book also makes an effort to capture the Rwandese desire to have the world see beyond the perception that the region is "cursed" by violence, rather than that violence being the result of several specific political actions. The book reproduces the key cultural conflicts by working on the individual level, placing novelist Cornelius Uvimana in a position as somewhat both a perpetrator and product of the murders. And rather than paint in broad strokes of violence, author Diop effectively uses one or two key images of its aftermath – a child’s severed foot in a dog’s mouth; a man hiding under the dead -- to make the murders personal, and somehow imaginable. Murambi is a challenging book, and an important story, that bumps against a great many stereotypes of the region and its people, and ultimately asks that we see not see the Rwandese as sculptures in misery, but as people struggling, continuing, and alive.