Gilbert Gatore’s debut novel THE PAST AHEAD, (Le passÃ© devant, 2008) has literally taken my breath away while reading and for quite some time afterwards. Without ever mentioning either the country by name or the concept of genocide, the author brings the reader intimately close to the emotional turmoil of his two protagonists as they, from their very dissimilar post-trauma reality struggle to re-adjust to life after theirs was forever changed. They stand, without doubt as representatives for many.
The setting is World War II Paris — when the Germans begin their occupation of the city, the protagonist of this story is just turning sixteen. Maral Pegorian and her older brother, Missak, are part of an Armenian family displaced to France after the Armenian genocide. They are stateless refugees and have made the suburb of Belleville in Paris, their home. Maralâ€™s father is a cobbler and owns a small shoe shop hoping to one day pass on his skills to his son.
There are many reasons we read: for enlightenment, escape, education, and in some rare instances, to confront ourselves with truths and insights we never would have encountered otherwise.
BRODECK is one of those rare instances. It is, quite simply, one of the best contemporary books I have ever read. And I have read a lot.
WHO FEARS DEATH is a supernatural odyssey set in an alternate, post-apocalyptic Africa. The unnamed event that devastated this alternate Earth destroyed most of its technology.
Onyesonwu spent her first several years leading a nomadic life with her mother in the desert. The product of a brutal rape, Onye is half Okeke and half Nuru. Her obvious physical traits from her mixed blood brand her as an ewu. The word means born of pain, and many people believe that those born of violence will themselves become violent. They are despised and shunned.