A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali
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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.
Mélissa. I assure you that the girl, whose behaviour can rightfully be qualified as shameful, having placed a friend of our country in a position of embarrassment, quite simply returned to her hill by the first minibus. Do you still wish to file a complaint?” Gentille squeezed Valcourt’s hand fiercely for a few seconds, allowing the sounds of the market to kill the silence that had fallen. Long enough for them to hear a hundred small slices of boisterous, harmless life. “Yes,” Gentille said, “I
leave her. It was written in the sky, in life. After he had had his pleasures and orgasms, once he had explored her breasts and ass and legs and private places, when he knew his way by heart around them with his fingertips and impatient penis, he would realize that he’d fallen for a poor little country negress who didn’t know anything, who couldn’t talk about the world, or about life, or especially about love. She was convinced he would not be able to put up much longer with this hysterical
body parading before her. A river of perspiration wet her thighs. Her already heavy breasts quivered, tingled and hardened till they hurt. Valcourt took his leave. He had agreed to meet Lamarre in the hotel lobby. They were going to François Cardinal’s village. Justin, whose stiffened penis was almost popping through his tiny bathing suit, was already tasting his vengeance. One day, a little drunk with sunshine and beer, he had confided in Valcourt. Every time he fucked a White—and there were so
steel of machetes. But to what end? The words of mere men are as naught against the Word of God. He decided to hold his tongue. He was ill placed to be giving advice to this happy woman considering he was getting himself into all kinds of trouble for more or less the same reasons, out of a pure, overwhelming passion for life as it is, instead of talking about life as it might be. Each moment stolen from fear is a paradise. Father Louis pulled several times on his pipe before reacting. His
Rwandan massacre to take place.” – Le Devoir “A voice that evokes humanity in all its depth and breadth, where executioner are brother and sister, where death is a daily occurrence. A voice I implore you to listen to.” – Le Journal de Montreal “A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali calls out across the persistent tumult as a plea to all that remains of our humanity, a hymn to the innocence to which we still cling.” – L’Express d’Outremont Translated from the French by Patricia Claxton