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A Sunday At The Pool In Kigali (Canons) [Kindle Edition]

Gil Courtemanche
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

The swimming pool of the Mille-Collines hotel is a magnet for a privileged group of Kigali residents: aid-workers, Rwandan bourgeoisie, soldiers, prostitutes and assorted expatriates. Among these patrons is the waitress Gentille, a beautiful Hutu often mistaken for a Tutsi, long admired by Valcourt, a Canadian journalist and film-maker. As the two test the water with a love affair, civil unrest in Rwanda makes insidious, inevitable progress. An immensely powerful, cathartic denunciation of poverty, ignorance, global apathy and media blindness. A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali is both a poignant love story and a stirring hymn to humanity - an essential read for anyone interested in exceptional literature of lasting value.

Product Description


"A Heart of Darkness for today." -- Yann Martel

"A moving and brave meditation on love and evil as well as a scathing indictment." -- New Internationalist

"Corrosive, denunciatory... and beautifully written." -- Le Devoir, Montreal

"Courtemanche’s style is one of superb control. No one is left unexamined." -- The Voice

"Do not expect it to leave you untouched." -- Jonathan Kaplan, author of The Dressing Station

Jonathan Kaplan, author of The Dressing Station

"Do not expect it to leave you untouched."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 540 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0676974821
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New Ed edition (15 Sept. 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002ZW5UMO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 1 July 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It took me a while to get into this book as I worried I wasn't going to be able to remember who was who and therefore follow the story properly. I needn't have worried. The book is so beautifully written and translated which makes what you're reading about all the more horrific as the atrocities are reported in such a matter of fact manner. I feel the true story of the genocide is told (it's a novel but based on fact with real characters) but not in a sensationalist or judgemental way. You are appalled at some aspects of humanity then moved to tears by others - the kindness, love, generosity, loyalty and love of life in the face of imminent death really does make you realise how lucky you are. Everyone should read this book if only to understand the African people all the more and to remember the appalling genocide and its innocent victims.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting but brutal 23 Dec. 2004
This story takes place in Kigali (Rwanda) at the start of the civil war (for want of a better phrase). It is told from the viewpoint of Valcourt, a Canadian journalist who has made many local friends there. He has fallen in love with the country, and with a young woman, Gentille. He describes the events leading up to the massacre of the Tutsis from a personal point of view. In the introduction the author states that it is a lightly fictionalised story, and that most of the names and incidents described really did happen.
Despite of this is not a history book, and so it doesn't detail the events you saw on the news in a logical fashion. This book is all about human emotions: love, friendship, anger, hatred, apathy. This makes it an incredibly powerful book to read: it is one of the few books that has actually made me cry.
I would recommend this book to anybody, whether they have a particular knowledge of Rwanda or not. The story really makes you think about people and what they are capable of, both in a positive and a negative sense. Just don't read it on public transport (as I did) as people tend to look at you rather oddly!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book about the genocide in Rwanda 28 Aug. 2006
Bernard Valcourt is a somewhat cynical Canadian who lives in a hotel in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. As a kind of an development aid worker he tries to set up a television channel and make a movie on AIDS. On Sundays he sits at the side of the swimming pool and writes down what he sees: pompous Rwandans, ex-pats whose lives are centred on booze and cheap sex. He falls in love with the beautiful Gentille, a Hutu woman who is build as a Tutsi, and together they see how Rwanda changes into a hell in which people are butchered by their neighbours simply because they are or appear to be Tutsi ("cockroaches" as they are called by the militant Hutu faction) or just because the military guys are drunk and feel like slaughtering somebody. They see how friends and acquaintances around them die, but refuse to believe that total madness will break out. In the end they stay too long.

This book is described by the author as a documentary rather than in novel, in which he wants to draw attention to the almost forgotten genocide (and also describes the spread and consequences of AIDS, another mass killer). At the time of the genocide I was in neighbouring Tanzania and even there we did not have an idea about the extent of the slaughter in Rwanda. A gruesome book that is very important, well written and it explains very clearly what happened in Rwanda in 1994.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Set in Rwanda during one of the darkest chapters in human history the tone of this novel-reportage is relentlessly sombre. I am not sure what was gained by turning this event into quasi-fiction when the author was an eye-witness reporter plainly intent on spewing forth vitriol against those he felt were part responsible for the genocide by their inaction; namely, the UN, France and Canada, and the expat community, whose cynicism appears here as an ugly form of post-colonial colonialism. Why do I feel that it does not really work as a novel? To begin with it works well as reportage; a bleak, detailed description of the horrors of human evil without constraint set against a background of a sexually transmitted plague already laying low a third of the population and rampant, debilitating corruption. It is a steady description of an escalating descent into the maelstrom of hell. Throughout there is a dark and heavy foreboding as individual murders and rapes turn into multiple incidents and then into mass rapes and massacres, all the while being tolerated with a shrug of the shoulders by European workers and military as something that just happens in Africa. There are too genuine attempts to understand and explain the complicated relationship between the two ethnic groups - the Hutu and the Tutsi - and what led to the level of hatred that saw men butcher each other at a rate unequalled since humans first appeared on the planet.
However, as a novel it loses something, and certainly as a love story. The principal character is Bernard Valcourt, a Canadian journalist who for reasons unclear (other than the usual clichés of beautiful African sunsets and skies) loves the country. He falls in love with Gentille, a Hutu woman who has the misfortune to resemble a Tutsi.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Lisa B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Andrea Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh!
Haunting, terrible, beautiful, heart-breaking. None of those do this novel justice. Just read it & pass this truth on to everybody.
Published 10 months ago by Tabatha Stirling
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Poignant
Seeing as it is twenty years ago since one of the worst genocides the world has ever witnessed. The book is especially poignant describing the horror and brutality of that time in... Read more
Published 12 months ago by deano c
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!
An amazing book! Full of real warmth and humour, but in no way avoiding some of the harrowing issues facing people in poorer countries, including the Genocide in Rwanda. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Susan E Ankcorn
4.0 out of 5 stars Painfully accurate and disturbing novel set during the Rwandan...
If this book were a film, it would carry warnings. It is shocking and horrible in parts, but that is absolutely how it should be. Read more
Published 17 months ago by BookWorm
5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic and horrific in places
Very well written but harrowing story based on real events.
Recommended by our book club as we all felt the same.
Published 21 months ago by Thomas Hewitt
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving and graphic novel
A stunning book. Difficult subject matter but the story flowed and the slowly unfolding genocide movingly covered. If only the world had listened
Published 22 months ago by D. Grierson
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible. overwhelming. devastating. powerful. profound.
it may not be fair for me to be writing this review yet as i am only half way through but i just needed to share the impact this book is having on me. Read more
Published on 15 Nov. 2012 by kat j
4.0 out of 5 stars bought for book club
Bought this book for my book club read of the month. When I learned what the subject matter was my heart sank. Would it be gory,sensationalised, depressing? Read more
Published on 29 Mar. 2010 by Crystal Maze
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