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fashion—jumping back and forth in time, but with bursts of reaUstic dialogue . The Englishman is absolutely convinced that he is going to die, and the resulting suspense is almost unbearable. The story of the middle-class woman is an equally expert evocation; I don't doubt for a moment Garland 's description of how a teenaged Filipino provincial feels when she meets a young fisherman on the way to school, or how she feels, years later, in her nicely landscaped home in Manila. The three stories come together in a violent climax, and it is here that Garland's writing is betrayed by his youth. The violence—not only at the end but scattered throughout the book—is very casual, the sort we see all the time on television and in the movies. There's no deep analysis going on here, and for that reason I can't decide whether it's true to life or gratuitous. The Tesseraci is billed as a quasiphilosophical book (a tesseraci is a hypercube, a four-dimensional figure whose three-dimensional projection is a cube). This may be of philosophical interest, but the discussion of it, along with several other brief detours in the novel, seems more like a hanging metaphor. More significant than the conceit of the tesseraci is Garland's knowledgeable re-creation of a bit of the Orient where there is no bourgeois lawfulness or justice, only retribution and obscene disparités of wealth. Add to that an intricacy of plotting and evocation of place that never flag, and you have as good a novel as The Beach, and quite different. No sophomore slump here. QS) We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998, 356 pp., $25 Gourevitch's laurels—most notably a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction—are well deserved for this mesmerizing and disturbing account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and its aftermath. The title is taken from a letter written by seven Tutsi Adventist pastors to their Hutu superior, Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana , requesting his intercession with local leaders to save their lives. Pastor Ntakirutimana's reply? "Your problem has already found a solution . You must die"; and, indeed, they all did. What is most striking about We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is that it is both an objective autopsy of the shattered nation of Rwanda and the powerful story of the author's own personal journey toward comprehending the Rwandan tragedy. It is now abundantly clear that the massacre of 800,000 Rwandans in 100 days—mostly Tutsis, mostly by machete-wielding Hutus—was much more than the sudden eruption of a long-standing tribal conflict. In fact, the early chapters of Gourevitch's book elaborate the history of HutuTutsi relations and dispel the notion of an ancestral hatred between the two ethnic groups. With admirable restraint, Gourevitch illuminates the complex causes of the genocide before focusing on the grim details of the killing itself. The Missouri Review · 189 Supported by Belgium, which had initially backed the Tutsi aristocracy and was instrumental in sparking the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis, the Hutu-led "republic" that officially emerged in 1961 was essentially a dictatorship whose internal power struggles would help give rise to the killing. In April 1994, President Juvenal Habiyarimana, longtime Rwandan dictator, was assassinated and control of the nation was seized by a group of military leaders espousing a Hutu Power ideology. With stunning speed the regime planned and implemented a systematic slaughter of the Tutsi population, insidiously designed to invest the Hutus in their new leaders. The killing was carried out by ordinary Hutu citizens— friends, neighbors and even relatives of the Tutsis they killed—who were spurred on by Hutu Power radio broadcasts reminding them of their duty to spare no Tutsi "cockroaches." Contrary to the international perception of Rwanda as a collapsed state fallen into chaos, the genocide was, writes Gourevitch, "the product of order, authoritarianism, decades of modem political theorizing and indoctrination , and one of the most meticulously administered states in history." In the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 189-190
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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