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Our Lady of the Nile Summary and Reviews

Our Lady of the Nile

by Scholastique Mukasonga, Melanie Mauthner (translator)

Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, Melanie Mauthner (translator) X
Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, Melanie Mauthner (translator)
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Book Summary

For her most recent work and first novel - Notre-Dame du Nil, originally published in March 2012 with Gallimard in French - Mukasonga immerses us in a school for young girls, called "Notre-Dame du Nil." The girls are sent to this high school perched on the ridge of the Nile in order to become the feminine elite of the country and to escape the dangers of the outside world. The book is a prelude to the Rwandan genocide and unfolds behind the closed doors of the school, in the interminable rainy season. Friendships, desires, hatred, political fights, incitation to racial violence, persecutions... The school soon becomes a fascinating existential microcosm of the true 1970s Rwanda.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Mukasonga's] deliciously limpid, melodious style makes Rwandan daily life vividly accessible ... Mukasonga expertly draws together all her threads and stories in climactic sequences to create a skillfully-orchestrated vision, both loving and fearful, of her beloved homeland ripped apart by vicious racial hatred." - Shelf Awareness

"In a writing style both rough and tender, Our Lady of the Nile depicts a society inevitably heading towards horror. [...] Poignant and tenacious." - Christine Rousseau, Le Monde

"Whoever has loved Africa will be touched by this story [...] It is the very essence of Africa, an immense Africa that will absorb even this terrible genocide." - Minute (France)

"Strangely, it is in this incredibly light novel, that one best understands the ethnic, political, and religious reasons behind the massacre of the mysterious Tutsis." - Regards (France)

"[After she was awarded the Prix Renaudot] I went out and procured every work by Scholastique Mukasonga. [...] Never has a prize been more merited." - Lire (France)

This information about Our Lady of the Nile was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Born in Rwanda in 1956, Scholastique Mukasonga experienced from childhood the violence and humiliation of the ethnic conflicts that shook her country. In 1960, her family was displaced into the under-developed Nyamata. In 1973, she was forced to leave the school of social assistance in Butare and flee to Burundi. She settled in France in 1992. The genocide of the Tutsi swept through Rwanda 2 years later. Mukasonga learned that 27 of her family members had been massacred. Twelve years later, Gallimard published her autobiographical account Inyenzi ou les Cafards, which marked Mukasonga's entry into literature. Her first novel, Notre-Dame du Nil, won the Ahamadou Kourouma prize and the Renaudot prize in 2012.

Melanie Mauthner read Modern Languages (French/Spanish) at Wadham College, Oxford and worked as a sociology lecturer before becoming a translator. Her publications include Ethics in Qualitative Research (Sage 2012), Sistering, short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. She obtained a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013 to translate Scholastique Mukasonga's collection L'Iguifou and is now translating her novel, Notre-Dame du Nil. She performs as part of the London writers' collective, Malika's Poetry Kitchen.

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