Igifu by Scholastique Mukasonga

Translated by Jordan Stump

It has taken me a while to get to this collection, although once I started, the writing flowed in such a way that I could almost read it in one sitting, if not for the weight of the narrative. I do not know how to precisely describe these short stories. They are from Rwanda, a country I only have a scattered understanding of. None of the political turmoil is directly referenced here. Each chapter focuses on the repercussions and changes in the people’s daily lives in those unstable times.
The hunger, the weariness and the earning for another happier time are all crammed in these. There aren’t many in this collection, but each is vivid and heart-rending. We have people leading a particular life due to the compulsion of the times they find themselves in, and many suffer in varying degrees. We also see those resigned to their lives and lead it the best way they can. The lead protagonists range in age from the young to the old as they reflect on their experience. I wanted more from the individual story as I moved on to the next but did not get the closure-it was not that kind of book.
It is translated from French and is something I highly recommend people try.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley, the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this book.

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