Journal of Romance Studies

‘More than Just a Genocide Country’

Recuperating Rwanda in the writings of Scholastique Mukasonga

Journal of Romance Studies (2017), 17, (2), 127–149.

Abstract

How can we write fiction about twenty-first-century Rwanda? This article analyses the writing trajectory of the most successful Rwandan writer, Scholastique Mukasonga. Through close analysis of her published works, it traces a literary passage from mourning to recuperation. It also examines the interaction between Mukasonga’s most recent fictional texts (a second novel and a second collection of short stories) and the series of digitized artefacts presented on her website. Combining a postcolonial framework with insights from clinical and political psychology, the article shows how Mukasonga’s most recent writing encourages us to think about Rwanda differently, and suggests a new way of reading literary responses to the 1994 genocide.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

African Rights and Redress (2008) Survivors and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Their Experiences, Perspectives and Hopes (London: African Rights). Survivors and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Their Experiences, Perspectives and Hopes Google Scholar

Azarian, Viviane (2011) ‘Scholastique Mukasonga: le “témoignage de l’absent”’, Revue de littérature comparée 4: 423–433. Scholastique Mukasonga: le “témoignage de l’absent” Revue de littérature comparée 4 423 433 Google Scholar

Berry, John A., and Carol Pott Berry (1999) Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory (Washington: Howard University Press). Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory Google Scholar

Campioni, Maddelena, and Patrick Noack (2012) Rwanda Fast Forward: Social Economic, Military and Reconciliation Prospects (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Rwanda Fast Forward: Social Economic, Military and Reconciliation Prospects Google Scholar

Ceulan Hughes, Suzy (2013) ‘Interview with Scholastique Mukasonga’, New Welsh Review 102. http://www.newwelshreview.com/article.php?id=645 (accessed 20 December 2016). Google Scholar

Clark, Phil, and Zachary D. Kaufman (eds) (2008) After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (London: Hurst). After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond Google Scholar

Cocquet, Marion (2012) ‘“Notre-Dame du Nil”, mémoires de jeunes filles brisées’, Le Point, 9 November. http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/notre-dame-du-nil-memoires-de-jeunes-filles-brisees-09-11-2012-1527029_3.php (accessed 20 March 2017). Google Scholar

Coquio, Catherine (2004) Rwanda: le réel et les récits (Paris: Belin). Rwanda: le réel et les récits Google Scholar

Des Forges, Alison (1999) ‘Leave none to tell the story’, Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/Geno11-4-04.htm (accessed 16 November 2016). Google Scholar

Durrant, Sam (2004) Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning: J.M. Coetzee, Wilson Harris, and Toni Morrison (New York: SUNY Press). Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning: J.M. Coetzee, Wilson Harris, and Toni Morrison Google Scholar

Dusaillant-Fernandes, Valérie (2013) ‘La Mission de Scholastique Mukasonga: entretenir le souvenir et faire perdurer la mémoire des siens’, in The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art, ed. Névine El Nossery and Amy L. Hubbell (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press), 97–114. La Mission de Scholastique Mukasonga: entretenir le souvenir et faire perdurer la mémoire des siens The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art 97 114 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1957 [1917]) ‘Mourning and melancholia’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914–1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works (London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis), 243–258. Mourning and melancholia The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914–1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works 243 258 Google Scholar

George, Terry (dir.) (2004) Hotel Rwanda (UK/South Africa/Italy). Hotel Rwanda Google Scholar

Herman, Judith Lewis (1992) Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (London: Pandora). Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Google Scholar

Hitchcott, Nicki (2015) Rwanda Genocide Stories: Fiction after 1994 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). Rwanda Genocide Stories: Fiction after 1994 Google Scholar

Le Gros, Julien (2014) ‘“L’Écriture est une décharge de la souffrance”: entretien de Julien Le Gros avec Scholastique Mukasonga’, Africultures, 28 March 2014. http://www.africultures.com/php/index.php?nav=article&no=12143 (accessed 20 December 2016). Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2006) Inyenzi ou les cafards (Paris: Gallimard). Inyenzi ou les cafards Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2008) La Femme aux pieds nus (Paris: Gallimard). La Femme aux pieds nus Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2010) L’Iguifou: nouvelles rwandaises (Paris: Gallimard). L’Iguifou: nouvelles rwandaises Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2012) Notre Dame du Nil (Paris: Gallimard). Notre Dame du Nil Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2014a) Ce que murmurent les collines (Paris: Gallimard). Ce que murmurent les collines Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2014b) Our Lady of the Nile, trans. Melanie Mauthner (New York: Archipelago Books). Our Lady of the Nile Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2016a) Cockroaches, trans. Jordan Stump (New York: Archipelago books). Cockroaches Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2016b)Cœur Tambour (Paris: Gallimard). Cœur Tambour Google Scholar

Pearlman, Laurie Anne, and Ervin Staub (2015) ‘Sequencing trauma recovery and reconciliation interventions in post-conflict settings’, CRPD Working Paper 31. https://soc.kuleuven.be/crpd/files/working-papers/working-paper-pearlman-and-staub.pdf (accessed 5 January 2017). Google Scholar

Prunier, Gérard (1995)The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press). The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide Google Scholar

Rurangwa, Jean-Marie V. (2006) Au sortir de l’enfer (Paris: L’Harmattan). Au sortir de l’enfer Google Scholar

‘Rwanda Cultural Day’ (2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ4zobuWmxo (accessed 31 October 2016). Google Scholar

Sauvage, Grégoire (2016) Le “cœur tambour” de la Rwandaise Scholastique Mukasonga’, rfi Afrique. http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20160509-coeur-tambour-rwandaise-scholastique-mukasonga (accessed 11 October 2016). Google Scholar

Séry, Macha (2014) ‘Scholastique Mukasonga: “retrouver mon identité”’, Le Monde des Livres, 2 April 2014. http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2014/04/02/scholastique-mukasonga-retrouver-mon-identite_4394394_3260.html (accessed 24 November 2016). Google Scholar

Staub, Ervin (2006) ‘Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing, or intractable conflict: Understanding the roots of violence, psychological recovery, and steps toward a general theory’, Political Psychology 25: 867–894. Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing, or intractable conflict: Understanding the roots of violence, psychological recovery, and steps toward a general theory Political Psychology 25 867 894 Google Scholar

Straus, Scott, and Lars Waldorf (eds) (2011) Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence Google Scholar

Uwamahoro, Malaika (2013) ‘Rwanda is NOT Hotel Rwanda!!!’ http://malaika uwamahoro.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/rwanda-is-not-hotel-rwanda.html (accessed 19 November 2016). Google Scholar

Waters, Julia (2008) ‘From Continents Noirs to Collection Blanche: From other to same? The case of Ananda Devi’, e-France: An on-line Journal of French Studies 2: 55–74. From Continents Noirs to Collection Blanche: From other to same? The case of Ananda Devi e-France: An on-line Journal of French Studies 2 55 74 Google Scholar

African Rights and Redress (2008) Survivors and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Their Experiences, Perspectives and Hopes (London: African Rights). Survivors and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Their Experiences, Perspectives and Hopes Google Scholar

Azarian, Viviane (2011) ‘Scholastique Mukasonga: le “témoignage de l’absent”’, Revue de littérature comparée 4: 423–433. Scholastique Mukasonga: le “témoignage de l’absent” Revue de littérature comparée 4 423 433 Google Scholar

Berry, John A., and Carol Pott Berry (1999) Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory (Washington: Howard University Press). Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory Google Scholar

Campioni, Maddelena, and Patrick Noack (2012) Rwanda Fast Forward: Social Economic, Military and Reconciliation Prospects (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Rwanda Fast Forward: Social Economic, Military and Reconciliation Prospects Google Scholar

Ceulan Hughes, Suzy (2013) ‘Interview with Scholastique Mukasonga’, New Welsh Review 102. http://www.newwelshreview.com/article.php?id=645 (accessed 20 December 2016). Google Scholar

Clark, Phil, and Zachary D. Kaufman (eds) (2008) After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (London: Hurst). After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond Google Scholar

Cocquet, Marion (2012) ‘“Notre-Dame du Nil”, mémoires de jeunes filles brisées’, Le Point, 9 November. http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/notre-dame-du-nil-memoires-de-jeunes-filles-brisees-09-11-2012-1527029_3.php (accessed 20 March 2017). Google Scholar

Coquio, Catherine (2004) Rwanda: le réel et les récits (Paris: Belin). Rwanda: le réel et les récits Google Scholar

Des Forges, Alison (1999) ‘Leave none to tell the story’, Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/rwanda/Geno11-4-04.htm (accessed 16 November 2016). Google Scholar

Durrant, Sam (2004) Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning: J.M. Coetzee, Wilson Harris, and Toni Morrison (New York: SUNY Press). Postcolonial Narrative and the Work of Mourning: J.M. Coetzee, Wilson Harris, and Toni Morrison Google Scholar

Dusaillant-Fernandes, Valérie (2013) ‘La Mission de Scholastique Mukasonga: entretenir le souvenir et faire perdurer la mémoire des siens’, in The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art, ed. Névine El Nossery and Amy L. Hubbell (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press), 97–114. La Mission de Scholastique Mukasonga: entretenir le souvenir et faire perdurer la mémoire des siens The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art 97 114 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1957 [1917]) ‘Mourning and melancholia’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914–1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works (London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis), 243–258. Mourning and melancholia The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914–1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works 243 258 Google Scholar

George, Terry (dir.) (2004) Hotel Rwanda (UK/South Africa/Italy). Hotel Rwanda Google Scholar

Herman, Judith Lewis (1992) Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (London: Pandora). Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Google Scholar

Hitchcott, Nicki (2015) Rwanda Genocide Stories: Fiction after 1994 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). Rwanda Genocide Stories: Fiction after 1994 Google Scholar

Le Gros, Julien (2014) ‘“L’Écriture est une décharge de la souffrance”: entretien de Julien Le Gros avec Scholastique Mukasonga’, Africultures, 28 March 2014. http://www.africultures.com/php/index.php?nav=article&no=12143 (accessed 20 December 2016). Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2006) Inyenzi ou les cafards (Paris: Gallimard). Inyenzi ou les cafards Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2008) La Femme aux pieds nus (Paris: Gallimard). La Femme aux pieds nus Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2010) L’Iguifou: nouvelles rwandaises (Paris: Gallimard). L’Iguifou: nouvelles rwandaises Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2012) Notre Dame du Nil (Paris: Gallimard). Notre Dame du Nil Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2014a) Ce que murmurent les collines (Paris: Gallimard). Ce que murmurent les collines Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2014b) Our Lady of the Nile, trans. Melanie Mauthner (New York: Archipelago Books). Our Lady of the Nile Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2016a) Cockroaches, trans. Jordan Stump (New York: Archipelago books). Cockroaches Google Scholar

Mukasonga, Scholastique (2016b)Cœur Tambour (Paris: Gallimard). Cœur Tambour Google Scholar

Pearlman, Laurie Anne, and Ervin Staub (2015) ‘Sequencing trauma recovery and reconciliation interventions in post-conflict settings’, CRPD Working Paper 31. https://soc.kuleuven.be/crpd/files/working-papers/working-paper-pearlman-and-staub.pdf (accessed 5 January 2017). Google Scholar

Prunier, Gérard (1995)The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press). The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide Google Scholar

Rurangwa, Jean-Marie V. (2006) Au sortir de l’enfer (Paris: L’Harmattan). Au sortir de l’enfer Google Scholar

‘Rwanda Cultural Day’ (2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ4zobuWmxo (accessed 31 October 2016). Google Scholar

Sauvage, Grégoire (2016) Le “cœur tambour” de la Rwandaise Scholastique Mukasonga’, rfi Afrique. http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20160509-coeur-tambour-rwandaise-scholastique-mukasonga (accessed 11 October 2016). Google Scholar

Séry, Macha (2014) ‘Scholastique Mukasonga: “retrouver mon identité”’, Le Monde des Livres, 2 April 2014. http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2014/04/02/scholastique-mukasonga-retrouver-mon-identite_4394394_3260.html (accessed 24 November 2016). Google Scholar

Staub, Ervin (2006) ‘Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing, or intractable conflict: Understanding the roots of violence, psychological recovery, and steps toward a general theory’, Political Psychology 25: 867–894. Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing, or intractable conflict: Understanding the roots of violence, psychological recovery, and steps toward a general theory Political Psychology 25 867 894 Google Scholar

Straus, Scott, and Lars Waldorf (eds) (2011) Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence Google Scholar

Uwamahoro, Malaika (2013) ‘Rwanda is NOT Hotel Rwanda!!!’ http://malaika uwamahoro.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/rwanda-is-not-hotel-rwanda.html (accessed 19 November 2016). Google Scholar

Waters, Julia (2008) ‘From Continents Noirs to Collection Blanche: From other to same? The case of Ananda Devi’, e-France: An on-line Journal of French Studies 2: 55–74. From Continents Noirs to Collection Blanche: From other to same? The case of Ananda Devi e-France: An on-line Journal of French Studies 2 55 74 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Hitchcott, Nicki

Hitchcott, Nicki