The Oldest Orphan, by Monenembo, Tierno
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- ISBN: 9780803282858 | 0803282850
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 3/1/2004
Tierno MonÚnembo was among the African authors invited to Rwanda after the 1994 Tutsi-Hutu massacre to "write genocide into memory." In his novelThe Oldest Orphan, that is precisely what MonÚnembo does, to devastating effect. Powerful testimony to an unspeakable historical reality, this story is told by an adolescent on death row in a prison in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Dispassionately, almost cynically, the teenager Faustin tells his tale, alternating between his days in jail, his adventures wandering the countryside after his parents and most of the people of his village have been massacred, and his escapades as a cheerful hoodlum in the streets of Kigali. Only slowly does the full horror of his parents' death and his own experience return to Faustin. His realization strikes the reader with shattering force, for it carries in its wake the impossible but inescapable questions presented by such a murderous episode of history and such a crippling experience for a child, a people, and a nation.A native of Guinea, Tierno MonÚnembo lived in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Algeria, and Morocco before settling in France in 1973. He is the author of seven novels.Monique Fleury Nagem is a professor of modern languages at McNeese State University and the translator of CÚleste Mogador'sMemoirs of a Courtesan in Nineteenth-Century Paris(Nebraska 2001). Adele King is a professor emerita of French at Ball State University and the editor ofFrom Africa: New Francophone Stories(Nebraska 2004).