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A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali
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message 1: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12845 comments Start discussion for A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali here.


message 2: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12845 comments What can I say? Disturbing. Heart-breaking. Horrifying. Although the book was fiction, most of what happened actually did take place. Books like this make me very grateful to live where I do, and also make me wonder if this sort of thing could happen where I am. Considering how much genocide there has been throughout history in all parts of the world, I can't completely rule out the possibility, no matter how improbable it may seem.

The book is not for everyone. It is graphically violent with many killings, torture, rapes, and a lot of blood, which may or may not be gratuitous. The problem of AIDS is also a much talked about factor in this book. Definitely not a light read, despite the pleasant title.

Despite the difficulty of the subject matter, I am glad I read it. It helped me to better understand Rwanda and it's recent history.


message 3: by Jenclone (new)

Jenclone | 78 comments I agree with everything you said, Diane, and I’m glad I read it too, though it was hard. Then it strikes me how strange it is for me to say it was “hard” to read the book, when that’s literally ALL I had to do (compared to those who lived it).

Some other things I found meaningful: the emotional depth of Valcourt and Gentille’s relationship, when in the beginning it just seemed like a sexual infatuation; the comment about how people killed with machetes because they couldn’t afford gas chambers, which cautions us against thinking this kind of slaughter is an “African” problem; and the actions of those who tried to fight, knowing it would get them killed, and those who stayed to bear witness, no matter how painful it would be.

The sentimental side of me really wanted them to leave the country together, but I understand why the author didn’t write it that way.


Pepita | 177 comments This was such an education for me to read.......and so disturbing that 'humans' can be so divided by 'race' and have the belief that it provides a right to torture and kill. I agree with you Diane that I am grateful to live where I live as we do not have to experience such daily horror, although, it does remind me that aborigines in Australia were also massacred with the influx of Europeans to Australia and have, only in my lifetime, been accepted as voters in our 'democratic' governance. I'd like to think we are learning about humanity but still so much intolerance to overcome.


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