Bibi Deitz

  • culture November 20, 2014

    Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga

    Published in English twenty years after the massacre of the Tutsi people, Our Lady of the Nile is a political novel, addressing race, culture, gender. The brutality of the Hutu-Tutsi conflict is easily misunderstood. This book makes it human, brings it down to the level of the everyday.

    All is quiet at Our Lady of the Nile, an elite boarding school high in the mountains of Rwanda. Or so it seems. Our Lady of the Nile, Scholastique Mukasonga’s fairytale-like novel, is the literary equivalent of a slow burn. Set in 1979, it is a highly charged, fictional account of the events leading up to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Using an unlikely focal point—a gaggle of senior-class high school girls at a small, religious school—Mukasonga answers the question of how such an atrocity could have occurred. The author lost twenty-seven members of her family in the genocide, so she is familiar

  • syllabi October 30, 2014

    Andre Dubus's best characters

    Andre Dubus’s literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus of a character—he makes a reader want to keep going, because she knows exactly who these people are and has to know what happens to them. It’s a feat that fellow short-form heavyweights Chekhov and Carver knew all about. Rather than getting bogged down in the details—hair and eye color, the make of automobiles, the inconsequential cousins and endless backstories—Dubus trains his eye on the here and