*The Barefoot Woman
It was while we were weeding the sorghum field that Mama taught me most of her memories of the Rwanda that used to be. Alas! I’ve forgotten so many of the secrets Stefania told me, the secrets a mother tells only her daughter
From the author of the critically acclaimed novel Our Lady of the Nile, a haunting, delicately wrought work of non-fiction, memorialising a lost childhood, community and way of life.
When Scholastique Mukasonga’s family are killed in the genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda, she is unable to fulfil her mother Stefania’s wish to shroud her body with pagne. So instead, she now weaves her mother’s shroud with words, drawing on inherited traditions of storytelling to offer a devastating, unforgettable tribute.
In beautiful, lucid prose, Mukasonga lays before us the fierce courage and strength of her mother as she fought for her children’s safety, her family’s exile to the Burundi border and her community’s efforts to maintain ritual and tradition. Vivid, evocative and deeply moving, this is a remarkable work of art and act of love.
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