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Extended Audio Sample Running the Rift Audiobook, by Naomi Benaron Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,254 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Naomi Benaron Narrator: Marcel Davis Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2012 ISBN: 9781611745672
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Jean Patrick Nkuba is a gifted Rwandan boy who realizes that running will be his life. Until he discovers that he must run to save his life. During a ten-year span, his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions. But in an ever-threatening world, he hol Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “[An] unflinching and beautifully crafted account of a people and their survival. In addition, [Benaron] compellingly details the growth and rigorous training of a young athlete.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A powerful coming-of-age story that highlights the best and the worst of human nature.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “A novel full of unspeakable strife but also joy, humor, and love.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Audacious and compelling…It’s a brave writer…who takes a subject as historically complex and gravid with emotion as this one as the background to her first novel, and Benaron has to be loudly applauded for her bravura and heartfelt attempt to encapsulate and document this corner of twentieth-century bestiality through her story of a young man’s teenage and early adult years…Benaron does not spare us any of the abominations of the genocide, but her denouement is surprisingly redemptive.”

    Washington Post

  • “It is exceptionally difficult to fictionalize a relatively recent mass murder without either cheapening the tragedy or becoming bogged down in grim reportage—but Ms. Benaron does a smart, sober job of it…Running the Rift is well-paced but always makes time to demonstrate the apparatus of genocide.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Benaron depicts the rugged beauty of Rwanda and the horror of genocide vividly in these pages. She writes with an earnest clarity bringing the boy to manhood and imparting to readers a culturally rich and unflinching story of resilience and resistance.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “An auspicious debut…Having worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda, Benaron clearly acquired a very lucid sense of her characters’ lives and of the horrors they endured…While it would be counterintuitive to pronounce this a winning, feel-good story, there is something to be said for hope restored. And Naomi Benaron's characters say it well.”

    Daily Beast

  • “It is a testament to Benaron’s skill that a novel about genocide—about neighbors and friends savagely turning on one another—conveys so profoundly the joys of family, friendship, and community. This powerful novel recounts inhumanity on a scale scarcely imaginable, yet rebukes its nihilism, countering unforgivable violence with small mercies and unyielding hope.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • Selected for the January 2012 Indie Next List
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, January 2012
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 2/19/2014

    " good read. sloooow start but worth it! an education on rwandan culture and genocide. so sad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yogini | 2/11/2014

    " I am not fond of the style but this book did get me interested in this subject and made me want to visit this country. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina | 1/26/2014

    " Beautifully written. Definitely shines a light on life in Rwanda leading up to and after mass genocide in the 90s, as seen through the eyes of Jean Patrick as he grows from boy to man. As a reader, I felt as if I was in the thick of it all.Benaron is a gifted story-teller. So glad I stumbled onto this novel. Highly recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 1/25/2014

    " This is one powerful story. IT's about a young boy named Jean Patrick, and his coming-of-age story.Also his dreams to become a great runner. It's also a story about the Rwanda Genocide which breaks my heart. I actually was very ignorant about what went down during that time of horrific acts of death. This story taught me much about loving and how bad people can hate each other. The story is remarkable and the is country beautiful and the writer tells it with such elegance. In a time so filled with ugliness she shows us complete beauty. She is a great author and I did enjoy the book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamsen | 1/25/2014

    " Even the writer seems disinterested in the plot. The pacing is frustratingly, mind-blowingly slow. The characters are two-dimensional, and I fail to see any motivation for any of them doing anything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara Wehe | 1/23/2014

    " This book was OK. I read it after reading Left to Tell which is a biograghy based on the Rwandan Genocide and after reading that this book paled in comparison. This book is fiction so it is not the same genre but I also found the writing choppy and it just didn't seem to flow. This book was a book I couldn't wait to finish so I would be done with it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Keith | 1/19/2014

    " I was completely disappointed in Benaron's account of the Rwandan genocide. I had heard such great things about this novel and I guess if you think "The Kite Runner" is a great piece of literature, than you would find this to be compelling as well. Unfortunately, I thought she dealt with a haunting subject not by capturing the human horror of it all, but by utterly spoiling her intent by creating a story filled with unlikely occurrence after unlikely occurrence. Add in totally shallow character development and prose that was nothing more than meh and I say you can take a pass on this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madeleine | 1/11/2014

    " Great perspective of events in Rwanda during the 90s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chari | 1/10/2014

    " Amazing book....couldn't put it down. Drew you in to life in Rwanda as the events of the genocide unfold. Makes you realize how much mending of hearts, bodies and their country is needed. Pray for this country! Loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny Schultz | 9/17/2013

    " WOW. Great book and story, but incredibly sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melody | 9/14/2013

    " The historical aspect was compelling and important, but the writing left the characters rather detached somehow. Although it kept me reading, I didn't feel invested. Better after having read it than whilst reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrell | 4/12/2013

    " Found this fascinating and totally gripping, enjoyed the fact that these events happened even though story was fictional, scary for the people that lived through this and tragic for those that didn't and was tied to a great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 12/21/2012

    " This book is about Rwanda's tragic history. I have read a number of books on the subject, this was the first novel and it was excellent. It appears that seemly average folks so easily turn on their neighbors, become so senseless and evil. It is beyond my understanding. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 10/24/2012

    " I think part of the reason I gave this book all 5 stars is because I just went to Rwanda last summer, so I could picture a lot of the places mentioned in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 9/27/2012

    " Great story tucked inside a sad one, the Rwanda genocide. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nellie Vigneron | 7/18/2012

    " This was a great book. Reading it you would never know that it is a fictional character... The author does a great depiction of what happened in Rwanda, the sentiments before and after the genocide all while nicely developing Jean Patrick's character and those around him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 1/25/2012

    " Reading this book will make you laugh and cry, think deeply and most of all make you thankful you have the life you have. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 1/21/2012

    " This sad, sad tale really showed what happened during Rwwanda's tragic history of genocide. Good writing, learned a lot more about the whole time period. "

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About the Author
Author Naomi Benaron

Naomi Benaron earned an MFA from Antioch University and an MS in earth sciences from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. She teaches at Pima Community College and online through the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. An advocate for African refugees in her community, she has worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda. She has won the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction and the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. She is also an Ironman triathlete.