pays

The latest addition to my website is Gaël Faye‘s Petit pays [Little Country]. Gaël Faye was born in Burundi of a French father and a Rwandan mother. He now lives in France and has been a successful hip-hop artist. This is his first novel. This is an autobiographical novel of his life in Burundi. On the whole he had a happy childhood, though his parents separated when he was a bit older. At about this time, the situation in Rwanda, which had been bad and then improved, suddenly got much worse. His mother, who had had to leave soon after independence, tried to find her family but nearly loses her life. Meanwhile, after the first democratic election of a president in Burundi, the president is assassinated. This leads to terrible violence in the country. Initially, they are relatively protected in Bujumbura but the violence spreads there and the family is involved, witnessing a brutal murder and they are at risk from attack. Eventually, they are evacuated to France. Faye tells an excellent story about the horrors of the two wars and how the country he loved so much become a country he has to leave. Despite the haven that France offers, he continues to feel a foreigner there and misses Burundi. This novel won two French literary prizes.