In a tale that recounts her own experience fleeing the ethnic violence of Rwanda, Scholastique Mukasonga resurrects in heartbreaking detail the lives of her many family members who were killed. In her reflections, she captures not only the suffering brought about by her family’s displacement, but also the beauty present in small, quiet moments with her loved ones.
Imagine being born into a world where everything about you--the shape of your nose, the look of your hair, the place of your birth--designates you as an undesirable, an inferior, a menace, no better than a cockroach, something to be driven away and ultimately exterminated. Imagine being thousands of miles away while your family and friends are brutally and methodically slaughtered. Imagine being entrusted by your parents with the mission of leaving everything you know and finding some way to survive, in the name of your family and your people.
Scholastique Mukasonga's Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda--the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bitterwsweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on. Sweet, funny, wrenching, and deeply moving, Cockroaches is a window onto an unforgettable world of love, grief, and horror.
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