Ana Belen sang "Peces de ciudad" that "In Macondo, I understood that it was wrong to try to return home to the place you were happy." Gael Faye, singer and writer (Goncourt Student award, 2016), didn't think the same through the child protagonist in the novel 'Little Country,' published by Salamandra and translated by Jose Manuel Fajardo). He was twenty-two years old when he fled Burundi because of the conflict between Hutusis and Tutsis.
French author Gaby introduces us to Gaby, a 10-year old son of a Rwandan Tutsi mom and a French businessman who lives happily in Bujumbura, along with his sister and friends, and enjoys all the adventures that the sweet scent of mangoes, exuberant pink bougainvillea, and the earthy sounds of termites on rainy day offer.
The paradise is broken when Gaby's parents divorce. Soon after, it is destroyed in thousands by the ethnic war between Hutusis and Tutsis. This causes one of the most horrific genocides African history. It was described by the protagonist as follows: "I wanted a mouse hole, a burrow, refuge from the world at my alley, and to lose myself in beautiful memories, dwell inside tender novels, and live in books."
Faye opens Gaby's world with a warm tone. It is however the most important thing that a human being can retain throughout his life.
A short autobiographical novel will be presented to the reader. It has a fluid narrative with a markedly lyrical tone. Let's not forget about the author's side as a composer and lyricist. The harsh theme that he addresses will leave a scarlet letter in our hearts. But the beauty of the green lands, the nostalgia for a happy childhood, and the love of family will stay forever in our minds.
Gael Faye's prose is a delicate blend of the sonority and poetry of poetry. It invites us to look back at our childhood and to feel the emotions of the past. But I didn't leave the country. I flew from it. I ran out of time and I didn't look back.