The Past Ahead

Written by Gilbert Gatore | Translated by Marjolijn de Jager | October 4, 2012
The Past Ahead by Gilbert Gatore
(Indiana University Press, October 2012)
The Past Ahead is the story of the destinies of two people after their experiences of the genocide in Rwanda. Isaro is orphaned, exiled, and now returned to her native country. Niko is a character in a novel that Isaro writes to help her understand her country's recent horrific past. Isaro's quest to recover the memory of the life she has lost is haunted by her nightmare imaginings, whose horror is given expression through Niko, a mute social outcast. When an army intent on massacre reaches his village, the once gentle young man is forced to become a killer. After the fighting ends, Niko retreats to a cave that he shares with a family of gorillas to try to escape the burden of his guilt. In his solitude, he is plagued with painful memories that will not leave him. As Isaro writes Niko’s story, she succumbs to the sadness of death, violence, and the dreadful reminders of her terrible past. Stunning and powerfully written, Gatore’s novel lays bare the unfathomable human cost of this international tragedy.
 
Reviews:

"The slow realization that everything is wrong." —Foreign Policy

"...[a] vibrant work of fiction that explores what it takes to make a monster out of a human being, and challenges the definition of survivor." —ForeWord

"The Past Ahead is a novel of blurred lines, the alternately healing and destructive power of memory, and irrepressible nature of truth. If we can only truly understand genocide through the art it inspires, then Gatore's The Past Ahead is as close a historical account of the atrocities of war and both the resilience and malleability of the human spirit as we can hope to receive." —Big Muddy
 
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