Our Lady of the Nile:
by Scholastique Mukasonga
translation by Melanie Mauthner
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All is quiet at Our Lady of the Nile, an elite boarding school high in the mountains of Rwanda. Or so it seems. Our Lady of the Nile, Scholastique Mukasonga’s fairytale-like novel, is the literary equivalent of a slow burn. Set in 1979, it is a highly charged, fictional account of the events leading up to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Using an unlikely focal point—a gaggle of senior-class high school girls at a small, religious school—Mukasonga answers the question of how such an atrocity could have occurred. The author lost twenty-seven members of her family in the genocide, so she is familiar with the realities and aftermath of such brutality.
The deadly turn kicks off when one of the girls, Gloriosa, decides that a Virgin Mary statue—the “Our Lady” of the title, which is also the name the school—has a nose
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