Imagine being born into a world where everything about you—the shape of your nose, the look of your hair, the place of your birth—designates you as an undesirable, an inferior, a menace, no better than a cockroach, something to be driven away and ultimately exterminated. Imagine being thousands of miles away while your family and friends are brutally and methodically slaughtered. Imagine being entrusted by your parents with the mission of leaving everything you know and finding some way to survive, in the name of your family and your people.
Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda—the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bittersweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on. Sweet, funny, wrenching, and deeply moving, Cockroaches is a window into an unforgettable world of love, grief, and horror.
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“A child’s view of one of history’s most chilling instances of genocide…A thoughtful, sobering firsthand account of the refugee experience, [and] a story that speaks to readers far beyond the African highlands.”