A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

French / France

La fantaisie des Dieux. Rwanda 1994
(The whim of the gods. Rwanda 1994)

Hippolyte (text/illus.)
Saint-Exupéry, Patrick de (text)         
Paris: Éd. des Arènes, 2014. – 92 p.
(Series: Les Arènes)
ISBN 978-2-35204-320-1

Rwanda / 1994 – Civil war – Genocide – Responsibility – Graphic novel

Almost twenty years after the genocide, journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupéry returns to Rwanda in 2013 with graphic novel artist Hippolyte. Their work of recollection is disturbing for them but proves enlightening for readers, since often the versions of events given by victims and perpetrators conflict in marked ways. Their research also explores the taboo question concerning the then-French government and military leadership’s role in protecting, training and equipping the perpetrators. Saint-Exupéry and Hippolyte succeed in creating one of the most important political graphic novels in France of the last years. The book’s diaphanous water colour illustrations of the lush Rwandan landscape and its photographic sequences intentionally collide with the forceful text. War and violence are portrayed without the taint of voyeurism and are usually not shown directly in the images, but “off stage” in the narrative. The victims have the final word. (Age: 15+)