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Running the Rift: A Novel
by Naomi Benaron

Published: 2012-10-16
Paperback : 400 pages
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Running the Rift follows the progress of Jean Patrick Nkuba from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life. A naturally gifted athlete, he sprints over the thousand hills of Rwanda and dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal ...
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Introduction

Running the Rift follows the progress of Jean Patrick Nkuba from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life. A naturally gifted athlete, he sprints over the thousand hills of Rwanda and dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal winner in track. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a world that has become increasingly restrictive and violent for his people. As tensions mount between the Hutu and Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream that running might deliver him, and his people, from the brutality around them.

Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Naomi Benaron has written a stunning and gorgeous novel that—through the eyes of one unforgettable boy— explores a country’s unraveling, its tentative new beginning, and the love that binds its people together.

Editorial Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012: No wonder Barbara Kingsolver awarded her 2010 Bellwether Prize, given biennially to an unpublished novel that confronts social issues, to Naomi Benaron's Running the Rift. In her coming-of-age story of young Tutsi Jean Patrick Nkuba, whose extraordinary gift for distance running lands him on the path to become his country's first medalist in track, one of history's most inconceivable chapters--the Rwandan genocide--becomes intensely personal. Out of a childhood marked by loss and overshadowed by mounting Hutu-Tutsi tensions, Jean Patrick draws the strength for grueling Olympic training and the courage to run his life's most crucial race--to save himself and his family. A vividly told tale with a memorable champion at its heart. --Mari Malcolm

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Do you think that the UN and others should have stepped in and assumed greater social responsibility?
Do you find fiction an effective way to address social injustice?
What Rwandan cultural practices did you learn from this book?
by LER (see profile) 09/07/17

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  "The extremes of humanity"by LER (see profile) 09/07/17

While this book does not provide deep insight into the seeds of the Hutu-Tutsui schism in the Rift Valley, it does an excellent job of presenting the cultural bonds and humanity that were broken during... (read more)

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