Magazine article New Internationalist

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

Magazine article New Internationalist

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

Article excerpt

(Canongate, ISBN 1 84195 433 0)

Gil Courtemanche's debut novel, a bestseller on its publication in his native Canada, is a barely fictionalized account of Rwanda in the days leading up to the 1994 genocide perpetrated on the Tutsi minority by Hutu extremists. The book is based on Courtemanche's own experiences as a journalist in Africa and he describes it as `a chronicle and an eye-witness report'. His principal characters - many based on real people - are the group of Kigali residents who congregate around the social hub of the swimming pool of the Mille-Collines Hotel. Among them are Bernard Valcourt, a disillusioned Quebecois journalist, and Gentille, a shy, beautiful waitress who is a Hutu but is often mistaken for a Tutsi. Bernard and Gentille embark on a passionate, doomed love affair as the country slides towards catastrophe. …

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