notes on dutch literature

The Rebel’s Hour

In Pick of the Week, Review on December 20, 2012 at 8:24 PM

The Rebel's hour - Lieve Joris
Award-winning journalist Lieve Joris (Back to the Congo, Mali Blues) gracefully re-imagines the non-fiction genre in The Rebel’s Hour of ‘literary’ reportage, an exhaustively researched, colorfully executed look at war-torn Congo that was released in Joris’s native Holland as nonfiction and in France as a novel (the facts are true, though her subjects could be evasive). A profound portrait of a man and his times, the book follows the life of Assani, a Tutsi cowherd who abandons the tribe of his youth to fight in the Congolese wars, where he becomes a distinguished military man, rising through the ranks of government even as he becomes deeply jaded by the chaos, destruction and suffering around him.

Joris’s Congo is a fragmented mess of political aggression, ethnic clashes and disintegrating national unity, and if the breakdown of Joris’s hero parallels the nation’s collapse a bit too neatly, it’s made up for in the author’s deft handling of Assani’s slippery perspective: “Families paralyzed you; everyone clung to everyone else and they kept asking each other for advice. Assani was against that sort of dependence-it made you lazy.” Joris presents a bare, honest and powerful tableau that illuminates the African delimma in hauntingly personal terms.
Source: Publisher’s Weekly

The Rebel’s Hour, written by Lieve Joris, translated by Liz Waters, published by Grove Press (ISBN 978-0-8021-1868-4)

Lieve Joris is one of the six novelists touring through the UK with High Impact: Literature from the Low Countries, January 14th – January 19th 2013.

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