[Buch] Naomi Benaron: Running the Rift (English)

Running the RiftRunning the Rift by Naomi Benaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jean Patrick is a boy growing up in Rwanda. When his father, a teacher, dies in an accident, the family moves in with Jean Patrick's uncle. The children continue their education in the school their father taught at where Jean Patrick's unique talent as a runner is discovered. From this point on he is groomed to eventually take part in the Olympics and "make Rwanda proud". But the aspiring athlete is flawed: He's Tutsi and in times of growing tension between the two major ethnic groups - Hutu and Tutsi - he faces threatening situations and even violence. However, protected by the president himself, Jean Patrick continues to train hard and pursue his dream of Olympic gold but when the genocide erupts he realizes that he'll have to leave his country and even the woman he loves and run for his life.

Gripping - beautiful - horrific - haunting - inspirational.

Running the Rift was highly emotional for me. At first I found it difficult to get into the plot and keep up with all the different character names but that improved with every chapter. Apart from that, the language takes a bit of getting used to - it seems the author uses some kind of local slang for the dialogues along with lots of Rwandan terms and words some of which are not explained and have to be deducted from context. I was hoping to find a glossary at the end for reference but couldn't find any.

Overall a terrific read though.

Naomi Benaron blends historical events, realistic characters and colourful descriptions of culture and people into this well written novel spanning a decade of one of the darkest chapters in recent history.

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