Book - 2016
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"Imagine being born into a world where everything about you--the shape of your nose, the look of your hair, the place of your birth--designates you as an undesirable, an inferior, a menace, no better than a cockroach, something to be driven away and ultimately exterminated. Imagine being thousands of miles away while your family and friends are brutally and methodically slaughtered. Imagine being entrusted by your parents with the mission of leaving everything you know and finding some way to survive, in the name of your family and your people. Scholastique Mukasonga's Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda--the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bitterwsweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on. Sweet, funny, wrenching, and deeply moving, Cockroaches is a window onto an unforgettable world of love, grief, and horror"--
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY :, archipelago books,, 2016.
Edition: First Archipelago Books Edition.
ISBN: 9780914671534
Branch Call Number: 967.5710431 MU
Characteristics: 165 pages ; 18 cm
Additional Contributors: Stump, Jordan 1959-- Translator


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IndyPL_RyanD May 04, 2020

Scholastique Mukasonga is a social worker and author originally born in Rwanda and who moved to France in the early 1990s. Cockroaches is her account of growing up in Rwanda during the late 1950s through the early 1970s and subsequent visits back to the country over the years. The title for her memoir comes from the term that some from the majority Hutu ethnic group used to describe the Tutsi minority ethnic group.

Through Mukasonga’s childhood memories, the reader gets glimpses into the persecution of the Tutsis by Hutus that helped lead up to the infamous final solution or mass murder of the Tutsis and more moderate Hutus that started in April of 1994 and lasted for 100 days. The final sections of the memoir are a remembrance of her family members, neighbors, and fellow Tutsi community members in the Nyamata region of Rwanda who died during the 1994 massacres.

Mukasonga battles with feelings of guilt over surviving the massacres and persecution, but yet she also feels that she has a mission to continue living and remembering her fellow Tutsis whose memories the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide tried to erase. Cockroaches is a memoir that is a great combination of memories pertaining to family, school, survival, and it offers historical insight into the Hutu-Tutsi conflicts of Rwanda.


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