Audio – 0:15:25

Reading with Gilbert Gatore & Katja Meintel

Internationaler Literaturpreis 2015 | Long Night of the Shortlist and Award Ceremony 2015
Wed, Jul 8, 2015

Gilbert Gatore: Das lärmende Schweigen
Translated from the French by Katja Meintel | Le Passé devant soi
Horlemann Verlag 2014 | Phébus, Paris 2008

“An unusually courageous book about the traumatization of the Rwandan genocide, which undertakes to explore the inner worlds of the victims and the perpetrators. With cool pathos, an attempt is made at balanced empathy for the nameless horror, which acknowledges and reflects its own failure. The story centres on a survivor who found refuge in French exile and who returns to Rwanda to search for explanations and narrative models for the bloodlust that turned her countrymen into bestial murderers in 1994. A second narrative delves into the inner life of the counter-figure: the mass murderer Niko. The offset stories told from the perspective of the victim and the perpetrator make the novel by the Rwandan author an unprecedented open-ended experiment in which telling cannot heal and blame cannot be removed.” (The jury on the shortlist nomination 2015)

Isaro was adopted from Rwanda as an orphan. She grows up in France, where she now leads the carefree life of a student. Becoming increasingly politically aware, she begins to deal with the events in her original homeland. Niko, dumb from birth, seems rather simpleminded. During the war, the boy fled to a fabled island, hid from the people and lived with a group of apes. Isaro, wanting to understand what happened in 1994, travels to Rwanda to collect reports from eyewitnesses. Niko, however, wants to forget. But both have to face their memories and the question of how to face and how to deal with the past.