Charity's Reviews > The Barefoot Woman

The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga
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In this 2019 National Book Award Finalist for translated literature, Mukasonga conjures her mother, her family, and her neighbors as they reshape traditions to fit their lives as refugees in the mounting violence that will lead to the Rwandan genocide. Mukasonga leaves the tragedy in the background, giving center stage instead to the people and their daily lives.

Reading this, I'm struck once again by how colonization shapes a people, how outsiders applying foreign values of good and bad, moral and immoral, civilized and savage influence how a people sees itself and derails social systems in place for generations. Regardless of one's judgment of those social systems and how they serve the individuals within the society, colonization is a profoundly destabilizing influence. Writing this, I'm struck by just how obvious that statement is, but still it's taken the better part of four decades to see it.

This book isn't an overtly political work, but these and other messages come through perhaps even more poignantly than they would if addressed directly. It's powerful, authentic, and very much worth the read.
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Reading Progress

December 17, 2019 – Started Reading
December 17, 2019 – Shelved
December 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

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