Running the Rift

Jean Patrick was already awake, listening to the storm, when Papa opened the door and stood by the side of his bed.

Why would you even try to come up with an idea when reality has many horrible ones? Running the Rift tells about Hutu versus Tutsi at the end of the twentieth century. How from one day to another neighbours and colleagues turned on each other because of what? A different body type, a different ancestry. Because some people rather ripped up a country in the hope of ending up top then “suffer” a normal life next to a people you didn’t recognize as your own.

Running the Rift is the coming of age story of Jean Patrick, a Tutsi. He discovers that he likes to run and that he’s really good. But when his passion becomes entangled with politics, with “being on the right side” while his loved ones are on the other side, he can’t use it as an escape from reality any more.

Naomi Benaron manages to make Jean Patrick’s struggle, between desperately not wanting to be part of the (political) situation while at the same time having his world spin a 360, so believable that there were multiple moments of frustrated huffing. It again shows that not every person is a straight up hero. That humans prefer what they’re used to and will cling to it in such a way that in some situations it will earn you the title of showing ostrich behaviour or being a loser.

Running the Rift was impressive.

Running the Rift, Naomi Benaron, Oneworld 2012

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