An account of the current atmosphere within Rwanda following the mass genocide of 1994. The author uses interviews with ordinary Rwandans of every class, Hutu and Tutsi conducted in 1997 to consider the effects of recent history on the nation as a whole.
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In 1996, Murphy packed a decent supply of cheroots and flew to Uganda. From there, she set out, in the pre-dawn dark, to walk 14 miles to the Rwandan border. It was a dangerous, nervy time. Though the war between the Tutsis and the Hutu had ended, there was still much sporadic killing, including fatal attacks on aid workers and expats. Righteous anger explodes throughout this book as Murphy rails against the 'culture of impunity' that allowed the vast majority of the perpetrators of the genocide to walk free. Devotees of the travelogue should not be dismayed, however, by the political vehemence in Visiting Rwanda, for the traveller within escapes from time to time. Thus we read of her preference for banana beer, her method of dealing with awkward customs officers, her strategy for coping with sleeping-bag fleas, floating corpses in Lake Kivu and all-night parties thrown by daughter Rachel and partner with whom she stayed by Lake Kivu. Politics and pleasure jostle for attention in this book - an intriguing if uncomfortable mix. Review by MARY RUSSELL Editor's note: Mary Russell is the author of The Blessing of a Good Thick Skirt. (Kirkus UK)