Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga (tr. Melanie Mauthner)

a nutshell: set in 1970s Rwanda, an elite Catholic boarding school for girls becomes a microcosm for racial tensions

a line: “‘As far as I’m concerned, she’s neither Hutu nor Tutsi, she’s my mother.’ ‘Maybe one day, there’ll be a Rwanda with neither Hutu nor Tutsi.'”

an image: having just learned the fate of her Tutsi friend, a schoolgirl silently struggles to hold back tears and blot out the horrific images assailing her

a thought: despite its eventual tilt into brutality, overall this novel did not feel like a difficult read – incredibly well written & paced, it easily carried me away into the world of the lycée

a fact: by the time of the 1994 genocide, Mukasonga had settled in France after fleeing to Burundi – she later learned that 27 of her family members had been massacred

bonus fact: a film based on the book is being released soon

want to read Our Lady of the Nile? visit here