A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

“A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali” by Gil Courtemanche (Canada)


Mesmerizing, striking, incongruous, incredible, are some of the words used by readers to describe this book. Although they found the subject matter very difficult to read, they felt that the story was well written and also well translated. Many liked the author’s journalistic style, though some said that the dialogues felt a bit engineered at times. Readers liked the descriptions of the people and places, and they found interesting the different aspects that were touched upon: expats, international organisations, the church, the media, AIDS, the historical origins of the conflict. They felt that the love story between the two protagonists was beautiful and believable, and that it helped to balance the horrors described in the book. Gentille’s reading of Paul Éluard’s poetry was thought to have played an important part in how their relationship evolved and also her saving grace during her horrific ordeals. Most readers liked the ending of the story, though one reader felt that the last sentence could have been omitted. The book averaged an 8 out of 10.


Set in Rwanda in 1994, the main protagonist is a white documentary filmmaker, Bernard Valcourt, who falls in love with a young Tutsi woman, Gentille Sibomana. This relationship becomes the vehicle for the author’s impressive intertwining of the personal and the political… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list 

Season 9 – “War & Conflict around the World” (Mar – Jun 2009)

“The Attack” by Yasmina Khadra (Algeria) *
“A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali” by Gil Courtemanche (Canada)
“March” by Geraldine Brooks (Australia)
“The Siege of Krishnapur” by J.G. Farrell (U.K.)

* The book club favourite

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