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Murambi, le livre des ossements

(Rwanda: écrire par devoir de mémoire)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The first English translation of this powerful and disturbing novel.
Paperback, 222 pages
Published April 2011 by Zulma (first published April 1st 2004)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Ellen Lee
I don't know if I can give this book a rating. As in, I don't know whether that would be ethical. Because I don't think I can judge this book like how I've judged other books because unlike most other books I've read this book is necessary. That's a really big word. But I mean it: this book is necessary, because without this book I'd never have known anything at all about the Rwandan genocide of the 90s. And how tragic is that? How many more years would I have spent in ignorance of such a huge e ...more
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 t ...more
Noah Jai
Mar 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
just finished reading and can't think of anything to say except I can't remember the last time I've read a book that felt this important ...more
Nicholas Binge
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
"I can't find the words to speak to the dead."

This re-telling of the Rwandan genocide by Senegalese author Boubacar Diop is a fascinating, if often difficult, read. The structure of the narrative and the fragmentation of the the way the story is told in time, in space and in character does a lot to immerse you in the confusion and loss of the time.

I'm not sure I enjoyed this, in the traditional sense of the word. Can you really enjoy a book about genocide? I certainly found it interesting, thoug
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is the best writing I've read about the Rwandan genocide or for that matter any other. The author writes in a very matter of fact manner about the most horrific events which somehow positions them in the universal realm of human experience. I like very much that he draws parallels with many other horrible moments in human experience, so it is never ever about 'African savagery' as so much writing about Africa is. Rather he is concerned with the very human endeavor to continue living when ev ...more
Holy shit....just finished it... my god...
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that requires multiple readings. This book makes me wish I was an English teacher again. Not because I want to read student essays on this book, but because I want to be able to offer this book to students and engage in rich conversation about this text.
Part One of this book repeats the banality of violence, over and over. The soldier who goes home and has tea with his family before he goes to massacre other humans. The video store owner who specializes in war movies. A
Moushine Zahr
Sep 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I've read a book from Senegalese author and the first time I read a novel about the 1.000.000 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda in 4 months in 1994. I can never forget having read this book just like Rwanda will never forget the 1994 genocide and world's Humanity should never forget the last genocide of the 20th century. As mentioned in the book, most of the world was paying attention to the soccer World Cup in USA like me and barely looked on T.V. at the genocide going on in Rwand ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I almost avoided this book, knowing some of the material might be difficult to read. But how many heartwrenching and shocking books of literature, fiction, and history have I read about the Holocaust, both on my own and as school assignments? And yet I'd never read a book about the Rwandan genocide?

And so I read it, and I'm glad I did. This book very skillfully navigates the material, it neither pulls punches nor wallows in shock porn, it maintains complexities while being direct about what's si
Kristina Polidano
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university

It's harrowing when reality disturbs beyond your being. Simple. Beautiful. Horrible.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy book to read or review. A bit slow-moving at times but the final pages are some of the most powerful and gut-wrenching I’ve read.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: studies
If this book did one thing, it made me learn more about the Rwandan genocide, which was outrageous and unbelievable.
ryansmht (:
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Judy Croome
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historians, Philosophers
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 because this is an English translation.

There are some interesting and complex characters: the rebel Tutsi, Jessica Kamanzi, is a wonderful character who symbolizes the strength and hope that lies in Africa's people. Cornelius Uvimana was another thought-provoking character; his development from a rathe
Claudia Gomez
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tove R.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story about one of the most devastating events in recent history; the genocide in Rwanda. A history teacher moves back to Rwanda after the massacre, and he realizes the horrors of it all. A great way to start to understand the subject, and to think about what "humanity" is. Highly recommended! ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"'A genocide is a genocide,' I answered, 'and this one will be the same. The more time passes, the less we'll forget.'" This quotation is apt and sums up a lot, even though it comes not from one of the story's heroes, but but one of its many cowardly, partisan anti-heroes.

While Diop is one of the first to tackle the Rwandan genocide in the medium of a novel (that I know of), he does so with much sensitivity but not shying away from the gruesome facts. I found this novel very troubling, as it sh
Laura Baiges
It's an interesting book about the genocide in Rwanda. Highly informative and personal. Good first approach to the topic. Sometimes I got a bit lost in the style of writing. ...more
Armel Dagorn
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to "rate" this one, as fiction, given the importance and heaviness of the subject. I kind of wondered at the very start where it was going, and I think that might be due to two things.

As I've read in someone's review below, the language can seem little "stilted and quaint" [I read it in French, not in translation], and I think that might possibly be due in part to the author being Senegalese, using a strand of French I am not used to.

And I think the somehow "slow" approach must have been n
Bee Day
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, this melancholy yet shocking novel will entwine the reader with barbed-wire ferocity. This novel is for anyone who has found that words are just as powerful as the machetes that killed so many in Rwanda. A must read for those that want to keep the unfortunately true history of genocide alive in the hearts of men and women.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african
After having read "Shaking Hands with Devil" which gives an accurate and political view of what happened before and during the genocide, Murambi gives the personal perspective. It is a chilling book and I couldn't really allow myself to picture the images written in the book. Strongly recommended.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to read but it's important that we know!!! In the summer of 1994, I was going to Little League games, chasing after my 2 & 4 year old girls and having birthday parties... I had no idea that ONE MILLION people were being systematically slaughtered in this horrendous crime :(. We are doomed to repeat a history we forget... ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oof. This one took me a while to read because I'd have to pause and digest. I also had to pause and research more than once. I was a little kid in 1994, and Rwanda never came up in history or social studies class. I'm still processing, but the structure of this book is absolutely fascinating, and I found myself wanting it on stage, somehow. ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
startled by the honesty of the human stories on both sides of the genocide. this book challenges the boundaries of Western-based conceptions of humanity. This book is thought-provoking, when I put the book down, Diop's narrative walked with me for day. ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I understand that the Rwanda genocide can only be fully understood from the people's perspective and the political maneuvers, I don't think Diop made the wisest choice by putting both. I believe that the novel could have been more powerful if it just portrayed one strand. ...more
Braden Polly
Ok, the story behind it was pretty gripping. However, by end, I barely felt I knew the characters that well and me not having any background knowledge of the Rwandan Genocide made this book is bit more tough to understand.
William H
about Rwanda post 1994- very moving story about the power of memory
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Often difficult to read, but filled with beautifully written, thought-provoking passages on the meaning of life, death, nation, ethnicity, personhood . . . .
Liza Schreiner
Very well written, very very disturbing and heartbreaking. Hotel Rwanda meets Closer.
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful. Hard to read at times... a beautifully complex take on Rwanda and its genocide.
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“In my heart of hearts I knew I was wrong. The World Cup was about to begin in the United States. The planet was interested in nothing else. And in any case, whatever happened in Rwanda, it would always be the same old story of blacks beating up on each other. Even Africans would say, during half-time of every match, “They’re embarrassing us, they should stop killing each other like that.” Then they’ll go on to something else. [9-10]” 1 likes
“We lived with a Hutu family. They were polite, but their
son, a fanatical Interahamwe militiaman, was often nasty
to us. One day I caught him going through our things. I
closed the door and said, “Defend yourself, kid.” He likes
to play the tough guy to impress the girls in the neighborhood, but he doesn’t know how to ¤ght. He got a thrashing he’ll never forget. Anyway, I supposed he must have
been remembering all about it during these last few hours.
Yes, the time has come for them to settle all those little
scores. Every Interahamwe probably has his list of little
Tutsi friends to get rid of. [9]”
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