What a book, what a first attempt!
I already look forward to Gaile Parkin's second book. If this was not a fluke, Parkin is going to be big. She writes like a dream. This is beautiful, flawless writing - the sort that can only come from the heart. No school in the world can teach one to write like this.
Kudos and more for Parkin!
The world stood by and watched indifferently in 1994 as the madness of genocide claimed the lives of Hutus and Tutsis in the tiny central African piece of land known as Rwanda, neighbour rising against neighbour for no other reason than that one was shorter, the other taller.
In the 14 years - going on to 15 in a few months' time - a lot of work has come out of the tragedy, lest we forget, from films such as Hotel Rwanda to books like Inyenzi - local Kinyarwanda for cockroaches, and now Parkin's highly commendable effort.
You cannot read this and not want to go to Rwanda and check things out for yourself. It is going to be thanks to works like this that the world will not be allowed to forget the tragedy of Rwanda and perhaps find time to introspect.
We failed the Rwandans.
Parkin did not set out to be clever and teach the complacent universe a thing or two about the pain of Rwanda. No.
She merely sat down and wrote a book of fiction out of the atrocities Rwandans visited on one another.
It works beautifully!
Angel Tungaraza is Tanzanian. Her husband Pius is a visiting professor at the university in Kigali.
They share their home in the foreigners' compound with their five grandchildren, born of their late son and daughter.
She bakes cakes to sell to the small community in and around the compound. The story of the genocide is relived as she interacts with her customers and gets to know them better.
Writers have come and gone in their quest to tell the story of the Holocaust. They have done it in a myriad ways, each better or less effective than the other.
Some day when posterity pauses to take stock of April 1994 in Rwanda, Parkin's name will be recalled.
They will speak well of her.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, the saying goes.
Had Rwanda not happened, literature would not have unearthed this Parkin gem.
Please write another book soon!