THE BAREFOOT WOMAN, translated by Jordan Stump

: Mukasonga (S.)

R 250.00
- +

153pp., paperback, English Language Reprint, London, (2018) 2022


First published in 2008 in French as La femme aux pieds nus.

Scholastique Mukasonga's tribute to her mother. Thirty-seven members of Mukasonga’s Tutsi family were killed by Hutus in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She is the only survivor.

"The Barefoot Woman is simultaneously a powerful work of witness and memorial, a loving act of reconstruction, and an unflinching reckoning with the Rwandan Civil War. In sentences of great beauty and restraint, Mukasonga rescues a million souls from the collective noun 'genocide', returning them to us as individual human beings, who lived, laughed, meddled in each other's affairs, worked, decorated their houses, raised children, told stories. An essential and powerful read." Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and On Beauty

"The fiercest of wars are fought by so many invisible heroes. The boldest of warriors will take on hell, descend into its depths, armed with a fiery love and set it differently alight. And even though this is a threnody, it is also a soaring story of grace, of faith, family, friendship, in-betweenness, and keeping just one nightmare away from the bogeyman; of Stefania who lived beyond boundaries, including those limits defined by those who would, and did, destroy a body, but never, oh no, not ever the dauntless soul of this, the most intrepid of mothers, a woman who drank fully of life, with a love that throbs through every word in this epigrammatic book. A daughter’s lyrical tribute, The Barefoot Woman is a resonant revelation." Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, author of Dust

Scholastique Mukasonga was born in Rwanda in 1956. In 1960 her family was displaced to the Bugesera district of Rwanda. A Tutsi, she was later forced to flee to Burundi and settled in France in 1992. Her books, in English translation, include the memoir Cockroaches; What the Hills Whisper, a collection of short stories, and the novels Our Lady of the Nile, Pounding Heart, Drumming Heart and Kibogo Climbed to the Sky.