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Running the Rift

Cover of Running the Rift

Running the Rift

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Imagine that a man who was once friendly suddenly spewed hatred. That a girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refused to look at you. That your coach secretly trained soldiers who would hunt down your family. Jean Patrick Nkuba is a gifted Tutsi boy who dreams of becoming Rwanda's first Olympic medal contender in track. When the killing begins, he is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life.

Spanning ten years during which a small nation was undone by ethnic tension and Africa's worst genocide in modern times, this novel explores the causes and effects of Rwanda's great tragedy from Nkuba's point of view. His struggles teach us that the power of love and the resilience of the human spirit can keep us going and ultimately lead to triumph.

Imagine that a man who was once friendly suddenly spewed hatred. That a girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refused to look at you. That your coach secretly trained soldiers who would hunt down your family. Jean Patrick Nkuba is a gifted Tutsi boy who dreams of becoming Rwanda's first Olympic medal contender in track. When the killing begins, he is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life.

Spanning ten years during which a small nation was undone by ethnic tension and Africa's worst genocide in modern times, this novel explores the causes and effects of Rwanda's great tragedy from Nkuba's point of view. His struggles teach us that the power of love and the resilience of the human spirit can keep us going and ultimately lead to triumph.

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About the Author-
  • NAOMI BENARON earned her MFA from Antioch University and her MS in earth sciences from cripps Institute of Oceanography. An advocate for African refugees in her community, she has worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda. She is also an Ironman triathlete. Benaron teaches at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Jean Patrick is a Tutsi being groomed by a Hutu coach to run for Rwanda in the Olympics. His times are good, but his timing is not. In 1994 the Hutu massacre 800,000 Tutsi. Once embraced by the president, our hero finds himself hiding in a banana tree while the Hutu below debate killing him with a grenade. Actor Marcel Davis also has much ground to cover. He must give voice to old men and young women, to the killers and the killed. While Davis does not create auditory identities for each character, it's always clear who's shrieking. The moral: Fictional differences between one person and another can justify violence too horrible to believe. Here one melodious voice can speak for us all. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine
  • Kirkus Reviews "The politics will be familiar to those who have followed Africa's crises (or seen Hotel Rwanda), but where Benaron shines is in her tender descriptions of Rwandan's natural beauty and in her creation of Jean Patrick, a hero whose noble innocence and genuine human warmth are impossible not to love." [starred review]
  • Publishers Weekly "Benaron accomplishes the improbable feat of wringing genuine loveliness from unspeakable horror . . . It is a testament to Benaron's skill that a novel about genocide . . . conveys so profoundly the joys of family, friendship, and community." [starred review]
  • Library Journal "First novelist Benaron, who has actively worked with refugee groups, won the 2010 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for this unflinching and beautifully crafted account of a people and their survival. In addition, she compellingly details the growth and rigorous training of a young athlete. VERDICT Readers who do not shy away from depictions of violence will find this tale of social justice a memorable read, and those interested in coming-of-age stories set in wartime will want it as well. Highly recommended." [starred review]
  • Barbara Kingsolver, founder of the Bellwether Prize, author of The Poisonwood Bible "Truly fearless writing . . . culturally rich and completely engrossing."
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    HighBridge Company
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Running the Rift
Naomi Benaron
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