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One Hundred Days

One Hundred Days

Author(s): Lukas Barfuss (Lukas Bärfuss

Location(s): Kigali

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): Late 20th Century



As snow falls outside his home in the Jura mountains, the Swiss former aid worker David Hohl – tells an old school friend how he witnessed the massacres in Kigali. A young idealist, David arrives in Rwanda in 1990 to work for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. He finds a life of postcolonial privilege and boredom, inhabited by expats who know little about Rwandans and cannot be bothered to learn the local language. Relief from boredom comes with civil war, David watches with excitement as troops march through Kigali: Agathe, the cosmopolitan Rwandan woman he has haplessly been courting, finally succumbs to his advances. But who is Agathe? Is she a Europeanised student, a daughter of African farmers, locked in an eternal struggle with nature, or is she a militant Hutu inciting murder from the back of a flatbed truck? And what is David’s own role in the genocide?

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The author “has a knack for homing on detail – a Donald Duck tie, for example – to suggest character: and he recognises that, in evoking atrocity, less horror is more. But his greatest...

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