Murambi, The Book of Bones

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, Apr 4, 2006 - Fiction - 208 pages
2 Reviews

"[W]hat is true of Rwanda is true in each of us; we all share in Africa." -- L'Harmattan

"[This novel] comes closer than have many political scientists or historians to trying to understand why this small country... sank in such appalling violence." -- Radio France International

In April of 1994, nearly a million Rwandans were killed in what would prove to be one of the swiftest, most terrifying killing sprees of the 20th century. In Murambi, The Book of Bones, Boubacar Boris Diop comes face to face with the chilling horror and overwhelming sadness of the tragedy. Now, the power of Diop's acclaimed novel is available to English-speaking readers through Fiona Mc Laughlin's crisp translation. The novel recounts the story of a Rwandan history teacher, Cornelius Uvimana, who was living and working in Djibouti at the time of the massacre. He returns to Rwanda to try to comprehend the death of his family and to write a play about the events that took place there. As the novel unfolds, Cornelius begins to understand that it is only our humanity that will save us, and that as a writer, he must bear witness to the atrocities of the genocide.

From the novel:
"If only by the way people are walking, you can see that tension is mounting by the minute. I can feel it almost physically. Everyone is running or at least hurrying about. I meet more and more passersby who seem to be walking around in circles. There seems to be another light in their eyes. I think of the fathers who have to face the anguished eyes of their children and who can't tell them anything. For them, the country has become an immense trap in the space of just a few hours. Death is on the prowl. They can't even dream of defending themselves. Everything has been meticulously prepared for a long time: the administration, the army, and the [militia] are going to combine forces to kill, if possible, every last one of them."


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JudyCroome - LibraryThing

This is a multi-voiced novel about the violent 1994 Rwandan genocide and gives a good cross-section of all the players involved in this horrific event. The language is stilted and quaint, possibly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - multifaceted - LibraryThing

You think we've learned our lessons about humanity and genocide from WWII? This book about the Rwandan genocides (nearly half a century after the end of WWII, by the way) might teach you a little ... Read full review

Selected pages


Michel Serumimdo
Faustin Gasana
The Return of Cornelius
Aloys Ndasingwa
Marina Nkusi
Rosa Karemera
Doctor Joseph Karekezi
Colonel Étienne Perrin

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About the author (2006)

Boubacar Boris Diop is a Senegalese novelist and screenwriter. Murambi, The Book of Bones was nominated by a jury to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair's list of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century.

Fiona Mc Laughlin is Associate Professor of African Languages and Linguistics at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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