In This Review

Blood Papa: Rwanda’s New Generation
Blood Papa: Rwanda’s New Generation
By Jean Hatzfeld. Translated by Joshua David Jordan
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018, 240 pp

This is Hatzfeld’s fourth book on the Rwandan genocide. As in his previous work, he investigates the topic with remarkable empathy by allowing both Hutu and Tutsi people to recount their experiences in their own voices as they try to make sense of the events of 1994 and their legacy. In this book, Hatzfeld focuses on young Rwandans who were born either right before or right after the genocide. His Hutu subjects confront the mind-boggling crimes of their parents and ponder their own communal guilt. Young Tutsis, meanwhile, reflect on the violence that befell their relatives. Both sides wonder about the memories and qualities of the other, not always with much generosity. What emerges from the book is that a vast gulf continues to divide Hutus and Tutsis, even as both understand that they need to gure out how to live together. In its descriptions of everyday life, the book makes clear that the genocide and the prosecution of Hutu participants shape Rwandan society to this day. Yet the youthful voices of Hatzfeld’s subjects, preoccupied with romance, academic ambition, and idealism, also deliver some grounds for optimism.