From Publishers Weekly
About that title: experts disagree, citing no fewer than five possible sites. Anne, a human rights activist working in Burundi, finds the avowed source there disappointing, a slow trickle; whose version of the truth, she wonders, can be trusted? That's a vital question, because so many people in this ambitious and thoroughly absorbing first novel lie lie habitually, defensively, reflexively. Yet first novelist Stone's ability to create compelling characters is such that each time someone lies the reader is jolted. For Americans like Anne, innocence is a persistent condition. Anne believes her love for Jean-Pierre Bukimana, a member of the Burundi oligarchy, will enable the couple to transcend their cultural and racial differences; she believes no less ardently that given enough goodwill and infrastructure, peace can come to Burundi despite the epic Hutu-Tutsi conflict. As far as she is concerned, exigencies of the outside world will remain frozen indefinitely, for her family back in a Northern California apple orchard no less than for the ex-pats and Africans she works with. When she witnesses a postelection spasm of gruesome brutality, she is shaken to her core, yet she is unable to relinquish her belief, even as she joins her sisters in scoffing at their mother's need to read romance novels while enduring chemotherapy. Full of engaging parallels and paradoxes, the novel is an intricate study of family and tribal loyalty, and irrationality and its mirror image, rationalization. Agent, Candice Fuhrman. (Apr. 16)Forecast: The New York Post took notice of Stone's $100,000 advance, and encomiums that followed from the likes of Andrea Barrett, Charles Baxter and Margot Livesay suggest this novel's commercial appeal as well as its serious literary aspirations. While contemporary Burundi may not be high on every reader's interest list, the changed American consciousness after September 11 may provoke a heightened interest in war-torn regions around the world.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When an American woman working for hunger relief in Burundi plunges into a love affair with a Paris-educated member of the Tutsi ruling class, you know issues of loyalty and betrayal can't be far behind.
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.