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!DOWNLOAD KINDLE ♟ Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali ♩ A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali is a moving, passionate love story set amid the turmoil and terror of Rwanda s genocide.All manner of Kigali residents pass their time by the pool of the Mille Collines hotel aid workers, Rwandan bourgeoisie, expatriates, UN peacekeepers, prostitutes Keeping a watchful eye is Bernard Valcourt, a jaded foreign journalist, but his closest attention is devoted to Gentille, a hotel waitress with the slender, elegant build of a Tutsi As they slip into an intense, improbable affair, the delicately balanced world around them already devastated by AIDS erupts in a Hutu led genocide against the Tutsi people Valcourt s efforts to spirit Gentille to safety end in their separation It will be months before he learns of his lover s shocking fate. We can all turn into killers, Valcourt had often maintained, even the most peaceful and generous of us All it takes is a certain circumstance, something that clicks, a failing, a patient conditioning, rage, disappointment The prehistoric predator and the primitive warrior are still alive beneath the successive varnishing that civilization has applied to mankind All the Good and Evil of humanity is in our genes Either one can emerge at any moment, as abruptly as a tornado can appear and destroy everything where minutes before only soft, warm breezes blew This was a tough one A book that appears to have a range of ratings from 1 5 and even a number of reviews where stars are absent I feel that I can understand how this comes to be For example, the characterization of the Rwandans as being over sexualized A national bestseller in Canada and widely hailed by critics and fellow authors alike as something to be read , but I also wondered because I m skeptical if there was a better book out there to introduce readers to A Sunday at the pool in Kigali is about the 1994 Rwandan genocide A subject that I ve learned a little about I watched Shake Hands with the Devil, watched countless interviews with Romeo Dallaire, saw Hotel Rwanda, my students and I had the pleasure last year of a Skype with Tresor, whose father was played by Don Cheadle in that latter movie My grade 9 10 11 class and I even worked on a long distance project with a Rwandan school Still I felt myself wavering every time I picked up this book What exactly did Gil Courtemanche want me to feel You see, this cannot be placed in just a sad category Nor can it be downgraded to a violent book A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali oozes with the anguish left in the wake of Belgian colonization, the stench of government corruption, the callous nature of the Western governments that turned their backs on the raging epidemic of AIDS, and the climax of hatred that sets Tutsi against Hutu, neighbors against neighbors, and brother against brother.Have you ever read a poem so powerful that you knew exactly the emotions that the poet is feeling I sure know that I have But many books that I ve read, I never really knew what was on the author s mind until I reached their note section at the end This I believe is what perhaps unsettled me while reading this book I could feel that simmering, no, furious anger that was rising up from the pages Because Gil Courtemanche is ANGRY and he wants his readers to know it As a reader, that scared me, it unsettled me, it made me want to stop reading But I couldn t Because in reality, our fear, should never stop us from speaking up against the evil of humanity.So I m afraid this became of a analysis than a review I do believe that A Sunday at the pool in Kigali deserves the readers attention. Dragostea era singurul sentiment la care nu mai spera i de care se lipsise f r s sufere prea mult i uit c ajunsese s o cer easc T cerea e un lucru ap s tor i sufocant, pentru c nici un c ntec de pas re, nici un zgomot de pa i, nici un zvon de c ntec sau de cuv nt nu ajunge la tine ca s te ndep rteze de tine nsu i Tu ai dreptate, t cerea e nsp im nt toare, fiindc n t cere nu se poate min i. ila smo ugostili na Sajmu knjiga u Beogradu davne 2004 i imali neobi na iskustva s njim Knjiga ima mu nu temu ali je predivna Srbija je jedina zemlja gde nije bila hit Ali nije kasno da svi oni koji su propustili tada da je pro itaju da to sada u ine The churches became Rwanda s gas chambers.This is one of the most upsetting and shocking books I ve ever read Because the author share his experiences in the form of a story you get to know all the people, which had an even bigger impact on me than reading the non fictional account in We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families Stories from Rwanda, which sometimes felt almost overwhelming in its scope He also writes the most horrific scenes without any sentiment or hysterics An extremely uncomfortable read, but a reminder of the terrible as well as the courageous deeds people are capable of. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing John F Kennedy The pool in the title is at a hotel in Kigali, Rwanda,where Western ex pats,aid workers,diplomats and UN soldiers congregate to get drunk and fornicate with hookers and is set at the time of one of the human races darkest moments The story is told in a novel documentary way and centres around Bernhard Valcourt, a somewhat jaded Canadian film journalist who lives in the hotel supposedly to make a film about AIDS, and a beautiful young waitress Gentille, a Hutu who looks like a Tutsi Valcourt is in love with Gentille and as she begins to reciprocate his love and their affair flourishes so the country descends into the bitter,feudal chaos of genocide.For whatever reason Valcourt is in love with Rwanda as much as Gentille and has made many friends both Hutu and Tutsi but it is a country already decimated by AIDS where up to a third of the population is either dead or dying However,there are also nightly sectarian murders and rapes taking place until the Hutus decide to enact their own final solution.There are certainly some fairly gratuitous sex and some brutal murders but overall it is not sensationalist but rather matter of fact as the author prefers to let the facts to speak for themselves This book reveals a myriad of human emotions including love,kindness,friendship, ignorance,anger,hatred,corruption and apathy but most of all a joy of life,a desire to live life to the full whatever the circumstances They know they are going to die so why not enjoy yourself along the way As the country descends into anarchy the reader certainly feels like screaming at the Western agencies who missed so many opportunities to stop the madness before it could really get started but for whatever were unwilling to do so Thus the book is pretty scathing deservedly so IMHO of them and of post colonial attitudes where black lives are seen as being cheap and of little importance Perhaps this is just the author s own bias but I fear not.Now initially I will admit that I struggled with all the names fearing that I would lose track of who is who but I need not have worried as once the action begins in earnest this becomes less important.The writing is succinct rather than flowery.If this book had purely been one of fiction then it would probably be laughable but given that the main premis was rooted in fact makes it all the harrowing.This is one of the best books that I ve read in a while and deserves a greater audience. It might be a good idea to start with a bit of backstory here, since we should all have heard of the Rwandan genocide but that doesn t mean we really understand it What follows is a hugely simplified history lesson complete with my personal bias which you are free to skip over Rwanda is a tiny fertile inland country surrounded by four larger ones, with a long, relatively peaceful history First settled by African pygmies called Twa, they were later joined by the farming Hutus Some time later the Tutsi arrived from the north Ethiopia, Somalia with their cattle tall, lean, lighter coloured and fine boned, they were distinctly, physically different from the shorter, squatter, blacker, broad nosed Hutus, but stability in the country was achieved.During colonial expansion, when European countries and Britain were carving up Africa between them, Germany claimed Rwanda After the First World War, Belgium took control It was around this time that the colonial interlopers made certain assumptions about the superiority physically and mentally of the Tutsi over that of the Hutu because they look white , affirmed by the Bible and the Church, and a race based divide was created After decades of growing animosity, the feelings of hatred and injustice between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsi escalated, finally exploding into the infamous massacre of 1994 in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed While the two groups raped, maimed and killed each other in brutal, animalistic fashion, the French, Belgian and Canadian ambassadorial parties and troops pulled out, and those Rwandans who have been accused of instigating the genocide were given safe haven in France The only ones left were a few journalists and the UN peace corps, which was forbidden to intervene The Rwandan genocide, only 16 years old, is an unbelievable example of just how far we will go to take advantage of others, and far we will run to avoid and deny the consequences The affluent West is just as much to blame for what happened in Rwanda as the ones who wielded the machetes, if not so It is a microcosm of what happens when you pit one race against the other simply because of superficial differences differences that can mean a good job, respect, and success for one group at the expense of the other As much as you deplore the outcome and the genocide itself, you have to at least understand where they were coming from A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali is based on true events and the stories of people who were there, fictionalised and told mostly from the perspective of a Qu b cois journalist, Bernard Valcourt, who was invited to the country to help get a national TV station up and running Living at the H tel des Mille Collines in the capital city of Kigali, Valcourt wiles away his time by the pool watching a beautiful young woman, Gentile, who works at the hotel and writing in his journal The hotel is mostly full of Qu b cois and Belgium businessmen, aid workers and diplomats, and Rwandan prostitutes One in three Rwandans had AIDS at this time, though the government denied and still denies there s a problem Valcourt is a cynical man, an athiest, who has fallen in love with the country as well as Gentile Gentile is a Hutu, but she looks like a Tutsi This is because her great grandfather, upon learning that his children would always be second class citizens on account of their ethnicity, set about to marry his offspring to Tutsi neighbours In a land where everyone is having sex with everyone else, shy Gentile is used to being ogled and desired for her beauty, but it is Valcourt she loves the one man who never stared at her body or tried to get her into bed.As their relationship becomes something precious and permanent, tensions in the country only grow worse Road blocks and vicious killings become common, with mutilated bodies lying naked in ditches Even when some of his friends are killed, both Hutu and Tutsi, Valcourt doesn t want to leave Rwanda He can marry Gentile and take her with him to the safety of Canada, but he hasn t given up on the country His na ve decision to stay and help and record what s happening seals the fate of Gentile.When I reached the end of this harrowing narrative, Courtemanche switches to present tense to tell us where Valcourt and Gentile are now, what happened in the intervening years, and it was at this point that it really hit home They were REAL PEOPLE As long as the story masqueraded as fiction, told in third person past tense, you could get through it Those last two paragraphs, though those are unavoidable Undeniable And in those last two paragraphs, the simple act of reading them does honour to these witnesses, to all the people in the story, the people who loved and laughed and died, sometimes horribly There s so much respect in those last two paragraphs, it was the perfect way to end it, and also the most gut wrenching It completely undid me A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali gets criticism for the style in which it is written I m torn, myself It is told in a rather cold, distant, journalism style, a style heavy on narrative with a broad omniscient perspective that has alienated some readers I don t deny that it does have that effect, or that it sometimes had that effect on me, but I found it all the powerful for it There are two points to make one, that the writing style allows you to read it without becoming seriously depressed or a blubbering mess and two, that its very coldness makes it all the forceful and real I wouldn t be able to respect the book if it was at all dramatic or self indulgent And it would be so easy to create that kind of story And so wrong It is hard to get close the characters, to really understand them especially the Rwandans, who are coming from a much different cultural background and attitude and to not feel somewhat spoon fed But it is also a story put together from many stories, told by a journalist who knows how to utilise the journalistic style to chilling effect.This is not a story for the faint hearted It is brutally honest, chillingly unapologetic The scary thing is, nothing has been embellished The interesting thing is, how Courtemanche enables us to understand, to not just see the surface of things and judge and condemn it from our lofty moral heights, but to bring us down to our knees in the dust and blood and make us give a shit, to feel their fear and their hatred, their love and their loyalty It s a highly politicised novel, and many of the Rwandan characters in the novel know exactly what s going on and why You get this fatalistic impression that they don t want to stop it, like it s boiling past the point where things can calm down without lancing the wound first What a horrible analogy It s politicised in a local and an international context, and some readers might find it too heavy handed Honestly, there s no room for subtlety when it comes to this kind of economics and the rape of a country From the doctor who is excited to use all his dying AIDS patients to further his career on the international stage, to the foreign bureaucrats who don t want their golf interrupted by the case of one of their own murdering a prostitute, to how the world sat back and did nothing while these people brutalised each other, or tried to prevent it from happening in the first place Valcourt takes us on a tour of the hospital, and shows us what the economic policies of the World Bank and IMF do at the ground level There s nothing black and white here, no these people are evil, that s all there is to it It would of course be so much easier if it were that simple It s easy to hate Hitler and call him evil, but considering what hate can lead to, it s better to understand both the bigger picture and the finer details, because if you don t understand why something like a genocide happened in the first place, how on earth can you prevent it from happening again How can you make the world a better place How can you right an injustice Further reading Dallaire, Rom o Shake Hands With the Devil The Failure of Humanity in RwandaHatzfeld, Jean Machete Season The Killers in Rwanda SpeakKlein, Naomi The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster CapitalismLewis, Stephen Race Against Time Searching for Hope in AIDS Ravaged Africa in some ways this is a 5 star book because it forces down our throats the atrocities so many of our fellow human beings suffered in the Rwandan genocide.However, I was concerned about the way the African male characters in the book were portrayed They were almost comically sex obsessed One man, who is dying of Aids, gets a blow job from a prostitute as his mother watches, presumably unfazed His own mother then helps remove the prostitute s clothing and observes in silence as her son performs oral sex on the girl A male Hutu market trader knows he has Aids too and that doesn t stop him having sex with every woman in sight, not caring if he infects each woman with HIV Later this same man stumbles across his own wife being gang raped at a roadblock The soldiers order him to have sex with his wife in front of them and the man responds by getting a huge erection and readily having sex with his wife in front of the soldiers The man is then shot in the back and his wife hacked to death Almost all of the African male characters in this book are depicted as animals The African female characters are mainly prostitutes It reads like a colonlialists exceedingly dark and frightening fantasy of African life That said, this book is apparently based on real life events and characters In recording the horror of the events of the genocide and bringing it to a wide audience, the author is to be commended However, for a view of Rwanda during that period I consider to be realistic, watch the movie Sometimes In April starring Idris Elba That movie depicts Rwandans in a way I believe to be true to reality they are rather religious, ordinary, well adjusted people whose lives were utterly shattered by the events of genocide If Mr Courtemanche s book was all you had to go by, you d come away believing that all black Rwandans are sex crazed individuals with no morals and that they are animalistic than animals Now, where have we heard that stereotype about black Africans before sigh Surrounding a pool in an upscale hotel in Rwanda, an eclectic group sits consisting of a journalist, upper class Rwandans, expats and prostitutes They are removed from what is happening in the city which is rape, violence and murder.It s 1994 and civil war has began between the Hutu and the Tutsi population Massacres, brutality and AIDS is rampant A war rages and whereby much of the world ignores and thereby in its passivity, condones A country divided by ethnicity and ignorance breeds a military filled with hatred.Yet, somehow despite this wave of terror, love weaves its way in for Valencourt, a French Canadian journalist and a Tutsi born turned Hutu, Gentille.Although this work is fiction it is based on an eyewitness account and embellished only to provide humanity to those murdered I weep for the ignorance that spurned this war on killing innocent men mercilessly and women who were heinously raped, mutilated and left for dead.A massacre of 800,000 Humanity at its darkest hour nearly 50 years after the holocaust, how did the world go blind and silent Again 4 A sad and noble effort to bring the events of the genocide in Rwanda to a Western reading public the dedication moved me almost to tears when I looked at it again after finishing the book And yet for about three quarters of the novel it pretty much left me cold The characterization was just not convincing or deep enough the omniscient narrative voice was distanced and stiff, though this may have been a translation problem it was written in French originally there didn t seem to be any motivation for ANYONE, good, bad, young, old, male, female, sympathetic or otherwise, other than sex, which got boring after a while and the overlying plot was so reminiscent of Thomas Keneally s Towards Asmara developing African nation at war, sympathetic white journalist falls for local girl who ends up dehumanized, lots of people get killed in horrible ways But But Towards the end, when the REAL horror got going and there had been horrible things going on all along , it became quite gripping I liked it better, having finished it, than I did most of the time I was reading it.And of course I knew next to nothing about Rwanda before I started, which is a good reason for having read it but I wish I felt, afterward, that I knew a bit about Rwanda for having read it I will remember the horrible imagery, since that was what was described so vividly, than I will remember the somewhat generic character representations of the tragic victims Courtemanche longs to immortalize.