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Petit pays
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Archived | French Books 2019 > May-Jun 2019: Petit pays, by Gaël Faye SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Wim, French Readings (last edited Apr 21, 2019 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wim | 666 comments Mod
This thread is for our May and June 2019 read of Petit pays by author Gaël Faye, SPOILERS ALLOWED (find the no-spoiler thread here)

Looking forward to read your views and comments!

Laura | 262 comments Great!!! Thanks for setting up!

Laura | 262 comments Started this brilliant book. Writing is so good, funny and sad, descriptions of characters seamless. Looking forward to the rest of it

message 4: by Laura (last edited Apr 28, 2019 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura | 262 comments Beautifully written, I found this piece of work really engaging. A coming of age in Burundi, humour and perfect character depiction intermingled with the first warning signs of the impending tragedy. As the writing flows fluidly, between one child play and another, one pen pal and another, the initial rumours of violence turn into full-blown terror for Gaby and his family. French but not French, Rwandan but nor Rwandan and hopelessly stuck in the middle of Burundi, Gaby tries to negotiate his identity and his allegiances. Highly recommend this book.

Valerie (valroos) | 271 comments I just finished the book and really liked it. I agree the writing is beautiful: Faye has the enviable ability to write in a clear manner, making the book very accessible, while being also lyrical. I also admired how he managed to write a book that is deeply heartbreaking (both in terms of what happened to his family and how war robs children of their innocence) while retaining a certain lightness/airiness to most of the book.

The identity issue was, I agree, an interesting aspect of the book. The fact that the story is told through the eyes of someone who is half Rwandan, half French and living in Burundi offers an unusual perspective. I really appreciated the fact that he was also very honest about his sheltered and privileged background, and as a result his slowness in coming to understand the identity politics that were playing out around him.

message 6: by Wim, French Readings (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wim | 666 comments Mod
I completely agree with the both of you: beautiful writing, humerous and light, but still tragic and heartbreaking. Very intriguing as well how Gaby first does not identify with any of the opposing groups, but then is pulled inside the conflict by his environment.

I only was disappointed that a big part of the book dealt with Rwanda (again the genocide) whereas I hoped to read and learn more about Burundi...

Susan Lewallen (susanlewallen) | 14 comments I'm so glad to see all the positive reviews for Small Country, which I read in English. I just joined this group and don't know how all the customs, but, if it's ok, I'll put the link to a review I wrote a couple of weeks ago for the book, rather than repeat it here.

Hmm. must be a way to make the url "clickable." Advice gratefully accepted.

message 8: by Wim, French Readings (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wim | 666 comments Mod
Thanks Susan, for sharing your thoughts and your review!

PS. To edit your text and add hyperlinks, you can use html-codes. You find more info when you click on "(some html is ok)" just on top of the comment rectangle.

message 9: by Letitia (new) - added it

Letitia Mason | 9 comments Reading this in French so making slow progress, but it is beautifully written. The beauty of the 'Petit Pays' and Gaby's childhood there are evoked in parallel with the sinister fracturing of the political system. I have found it disturbing and insightful in relation to other countries such as South Sudandrawn into cycles of violence.

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