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Baho!

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  15 reviews
When Nyamugari, an adolescent mute, attempts to ask a young woman in rural Burundi for directions to an appropriate place to relieve himself, his gestures are mistaken as premeditation for rape. To the young woman's community, his fleeing confirms his guilt, setting off a chain reaction of pursuit, mob justice, and Nyamugari's attempts at explanation. Young Burundian novel ...more
Published 2012 by Vents d'ailleurs
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Richard Derus
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5* of five (rounded up)

15 December 2016: One of World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations for 2016! Congratulations to Phoneme Media!

My review of BAHO! is live today at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. A cautionary fable of war's huge consequences, it takes a single understandable misunderstanding to it logical limit. Wondering how our country nominated Drumpf for President? #WeWillNeverForget how horrible loss, terror, eternal unending stress feels. Phoneme Media and Translator Sc
...more
Alyson
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. On every level. Wish there were more stars I could give it then just these measly 5.

An outstanding novelette that scathingly criticizes rape culture (and its corresponding misogyny), mob mentality, racism, generation and culture gaps, religion/superstition, and war. And it does it all with an easy-flowing and remarkably beautiful prose. The relevancy of this book is not limited to Burundi, or Africa, or countries still seeking stability and peace. The relevancy of this book is, as of
...more
Efemia
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5*
Caroline
Another inspired pairing of author and translator from Phoneme Books. It’s a 4.5; I’m just trying to keep my ratings within bounds.

This is a many-faceted gem: small and brilliant. It sparkles with embedded stories and proverbs in Kirundi, the Bantu language of Burundi. The vibrant people of the place thrust themselves at the each other and the reader, but the quiet observer and the cagy manipulator of the vigilante crowd are just as memorable.

I admit that the kickoff event of the plot led me to
...more
AJ Payne
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Part of my Africa fiction book club.

Probably more like 2.5 stars.

This book was interesting and well worth it for the mere fact that it is a Burundian novel translated to English, which according to the book jacket has never happened before. So its novelty factor was a driver behind reading this one in the club. Plus, it's only 90 pages. The 90 pages thing is both a good thing (in that it's not intimidating to read), but also a bad thing because there could have been more character development an
...more
Tony Laplume
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If not for the fact that the first half of the book is not as compellingly written as the second, I think I'd eagerly add another star to my rating. I don't know whether to suggest it's Rugero the author or Schaefer the translator at fault there. At any rate, the second half is brilliant and more than rewards impatience with the first, I assure you.

What's least interesting about Baho!, perhaps, is the perfunctory notification that this is the first Burundian work of fiction available in English.
...more
John
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, africa-2018
"Disturbances mark our entire life, whichever what you look at it. The most important thing is to disturb life itself without letting it fall to pieces. Life is the water that flows over the earth, never to be gathered together again..." p. 91.

The story is rife with frustrations and jerking resolutions. The Nyamugari loses language by choice then by doctor's interference. He creates a misunderstanding that is tragic - for himself and the victim. His mob trial pulls out other abusers, egged on by
...more
Pam Giarrizzo
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-booktrekker
Some countries have produced a wealth of literature that has been translated into English. Other countries, not so much. Burundi is in the latter category. Fortunately, Burundian journalist Roland Rugero wrote Baho!, which recently became the first novel from Burundi to be translated into English.

Baho! is the story of Nyamuragi, a young man living in a village in rural Burundi. Nyamuragi has been mute since birth. In his mind, the reason he was mute initially was simply because he did not want t
...more
Bob Lopez
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the end of the book, while the old, one-eyed woman is ruminating with her goats, this thought is articulated: Disturbances mark our entire life...the most important thing is to disturb life itself without letting it fall to pieces. An appropriate coda to a novel focused on a disturbance--itself based on a misunderstanding--a disturbance that is eventually disturbed, and life allowed to return to normalcy. Baho! reminded me a lot of the Ox-Box Incident which was basically a study on mob rule. ...more
Shane
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world, favorites
Read this novel as part of my challenge to read a book from every country. I didn’t know what to expect from the small African country of Burundi, but I was amazed. Incredible book. The language is beautiful, the story is gripping and leaves you thinking. The translator does a spectacular job, and his note at the end shows what a deep and thoughtful book this is. On top of that, it’s a very short 1 or 2 day read, numbering only 90 pages. I recommend this book to anyone interested in African lite ...more
Jen Widmer
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
After being mistakenly accused of attempted rape, a mute boy is chased by a mob in a country suffering after war and plagued by hunger and a high rate of violence against women. I really enjoyed this story, which is told from several different perspectives and looks at the roles of education, communication, and mob justice, but I found the ending to be pretty confusing and hurried.

Reading the World - Burundi 🇧🇮
K's Bognoter
En kort roman fra Burundi med en enkel kernehistorie, som ikke desto mindre formår at berøre en stor mængde temaer, som på én gang er meget konkret forankret i Burundis aktuelle virkelighed og nylige historie og samtidig har universel relevans. Kan mest anbefales qua eksempel på litteratur fra Burundi, men den er heller ikke uden litterære kvaliteter i sig selv.
Læs hele anmeldelsen på K’s bognoter: http://bognoter.dk/2018/02/03/roland-...
Marie
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-booklist
Burundi

"The punishment of God: too much evil in this country."

"Hunger did not scare us."

"We did not run with time, we knew it was near us."

"The war managed to dissociate a human from space because, with a certain dread, it was discovered that man does not have space except via his history and culture."

"Life is full of dualities."

"Life continued."


Kristen Tcherneshoff
Was really excited about this book and the story it told, but it didn't give the depth I was hoping for with such a heavy topic
Leslie Ann
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The imagery of this novella is sometimes vivid, but the plot is rather thin and the prose too disjointed.
Shannon Weidner
rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2016
Thomas Coombes
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Sep 21, 2016
Edward
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Dec 09, 2016
Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire
rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2016
Rebecca Haling
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Feb 09, 2019
Encarnise
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Dec 25, 2016
Der Ubermolch
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Jun 13, 2016
Renae
rated it it was ok
Mar 09, 2017
O
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Dec 10, 2017
Jackie And Stuff
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Nov 28, 2017
Sarah
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May 31, 2018
Poetry Train
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Dec 03, 2017
Tifani
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Dec 09, 2018
Elie
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Jan 01, 2017
Zoe
rated it it was ok
Mar 25, 2017
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Born in 1986 in Burundi, Roland Rugero grew up in a family where reading was a favorite pastime. He has worked as a journalist in Burundi since 2008. His novels include Les Oniriques and Baho!, the first Burundian novel to be translated into English. Rugero has held residencies at La Rochelle and at Iowa's prestigious International Writing Program. In addition to his work as a writer, in 2011 he w ...more
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