From Publishers Weekly
The horrors of communal violence give way to quieter torments in this harrowing collection of oral histories. Hatzfeld revisits Tutsi survivors and confessed Hutu killers he interviewed in Life Laid Bare
and Machete Season
after the latter were unexpectedly released from prison and returned to their homes.. The official Rwandan policy of reconciliation holds: Hutu-Tutsi relations are civil, and one génocidaire
even marries a Tutsi woman whose relatives were slaughtered. But to Hatzfeld, the survivors reveal inner scars—their unappeasable sense of grief, dispossession and mistrust of their neighbors, the fillip of fear whenever they encounter Hutu farmers carrying their machetes, the bitterness that justice has been sacrificed for national recovery. (Less anguished, the pardoned Hutu perpetrators express a diplomatic repentance and relief at having escaped retribution.) Hatzfeld includes nightmarish scenes from the genocide; survivors recall running for their lives for weeks on end, regressing to the status of game animals as Hutu hunting bands cut down their families and friends. Just as haunting is the spiritual aftermath: Â 'I believed in honorable effort, decent behavior, the straight and narrow path,'Â one Tutsi woman recalls, Â '[but] from now on, I'm suspicious of moral maxims.'Â (Mar.)
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"Daring...Hatzfeld captures ordinary Rwandans at their most contemplative, working out the dilemma that will define the rest of their lives: How can survivors and killers share hilltops again?"--Jina Moore, The Christian Science Monitor
"Artfully written . . . a book that illustrates vividly the thorny realities that accompany survival and appeasement."--Nora Krug, The Washington Post
"Harrowing . . . Hatzfeld tackles the hardest questions of justice and reparations; of why some are broken or fall into despair while others are able to find anew some peace of mind and pleasure in life."---Anita Sethi, The Independent (UK)
"An amazing look at the reconciliation of evil and forgiveness."--Vanessa Bush, Booklist