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Book Bites: 11 May 2014

When The Hills Ask For Your BloodWhen the Hills Ask for Your Blood: A Personal story of Rwanda and Genocide
David Belton (Doubleday)
Book buff
David Belton covered the genocide twenty years ago. His book follows the fate of a number of people who suffered terribly but survived. It interweaves extreme pain and terror with deepness of hope and necessity of courage, leaving the reader astonished at the powerful crosscurrents of the human experience. Perhaps because he is a filmmaker, his writing somehow carries a sense of light and shadow, shining a spotlight on utter cruelty, and, in the next paragraph, illuminating the refusal to succumb to despair. This is, without doubt, the best book I have read on the Rwandan genocide.
- Hamilton Wende @HamiltonWende

The Chicken ThiefThe Chicken Thief
Fiona Leonard (Penguin)
Book thrill
This is a fast-paced political thriller set in an unnamed southern African country governed by politicians who have long forgotten the promises they made twenty five years before. Alois, an enterprising young chicken thief gets drawn into a scheme to make a fast buck that does not turn out as he anticipated. It is a well-written story, although the politicians are a little comic book-like. The plot is somewhat implausible and there are too many convenient coincidences along the way, but the writing is richly textured. An enjoyable read with a nice mix of political intrigue and romance.
- Edyth Bulbring @edythbulbring

Dragons and ButterfliesDragons and Butterflies
Shani Krebs (Jonathan Ball)
Book buff
Man goes to Bangkok and gets busted big-time on a heroin rap and sentenced to life inside. This was your life on acid, kids. Except its not. Krebs and his saintly sister take on the unmovable force of the Thai Correctional System and begin 19 years of fighting for extradition back to South Africa. Both milieux are covered authentically, making for an interesting read that however falls short of spiritual triumph as Krebs is quick to see himself as the wronged party. By the time he finds religion after a 6-month stint in solitary, a strong case for zero tolerance against drugs has been made.
- Derek Abdinor @derekabdinor

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