Review of Small Country

Title: Small Country (Petit Pays)

Author: Gaël Faye (Translated by Sarah Ardizzone)

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Pages: 192

Days it Took to Read: 3

Genre: Historical Fiction


Goodreads Synopsis: “In 1992, Gabriel, ten years old, lives in Burundi in a comfortable expatriate neighborhood with his French father, his Rwandan mother and his little sister, Ana. In this joyful idyll, Gabriel spends the better part of his time with his mischievous band of friends, in a tiny cul-de-sac they have turned into their kingdom. But their peaceful existence will suddenly shatter when this small African country is brutally battered by history. In this magnificent coming-of-age story, Gael Faye describes an end of innocence and drives deep into the heart and mind of a young child caught in the maelstrom of history.”


Review: I liked, didn’t love, this book. It was a tragic tale of friendship, loss, war and survival. The book read like a memoir so I originally thought it was a true story (whoops). I’m not sure if it was because I was reading the translated version, but I felt very disconnected from the characters and could not totally attach myself to the story. It wasn’t until I was 2/3 through that I could feel the horrors the characters were experiencing daily. Viewing the Rwandan Genocide and Burundian Civil War in the eyes of a child was definitely limiting but allowed a unique take and showed a dramatic loss of innocence. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this book to anyone…but if you’re looking to change things up from your usual reading material or like historical fiction maybe give this one a go.


Other Books By Author: Lille Land


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