Amber's Reviews > A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche
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's review
May 26, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: world-lit-2005
Read from December 06 to 16, 2011

This book was my first exposure to any kind of account (in this case fictional but supposedly based on the author's real experiences) of life in Rwanda. It's beyond disturbing to think that thousands of real-life Patrick Batemans are walking around making an already devastated country's decisions and casually slaughtering people with a beer in one hand and a machete in the other.

I thought a couple of things were clever. First, the hotel swimming pool was a pretty creative way to ground all the plotlines and establish a sense of nowhereness at the same time. I couldn't tell you what Rwanda looks like because he doesn't describe it. Only the pool.

Second, the fluids are prominent, perhaps to cultivate the sense of fear a foreigner might feel even breathing in a blood-soaked country where nearly a quarter of the population has AIDS and even the uninfected citizens don't seem to care. The narrator, a journalist, reveals early on that local priests and nuns are the only ones passing out the free condoms donated by international humanitarian groups. Fascinating.

I didn't really believe the diary entries at the end. I'd be interested to know what other readers thought of them.
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