Naomi Benaron’s riveting debut novel, Running the Rift (pub. date: January 17, 2012), chronicles the story of a gifted Rwandan boy, Jean Patrick Nkuba, from the day he knows that running will be his life (he dreams of competing in the Olympics) to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions.
Running the Rift has already wracked up some serious buzz. Barbara Kingsolver calls it “Culturally rich and completely engrossing. This is truly fearless writing: ambitious, beautiful, and unapologetically passionate.” The Daily Beast included it as one of only nine titles in its Best Debuts of the Fall feature. It was one of only six titles featured earlier this year on the coveted Book Buzz panel at Book Expo America, the largest publishing trade show in the United States. And since that time, the novel has already earned two starred reviews from pre-publication trade magazines: Publishers Weekly (see below) and Library Journal.
Library Journal raves, “First novelist Benaron, who has actively worked with refugee groups, won the 2010 Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for this unflinching and beautifully crafted account of a people and their survival. In addition, she compellingly details the growth and rigorous training of a young athlete. VERDICT Readers … will find this tale of social justice a memorable read, and those interested in coming-of-age stories set in wartime will want it as well. Highly recommended; readers who loved Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner will appreciate.”
Publishers Weekly enthuses, “Benaron accomplishes the improbable feat of wringing genuine loveliness from unspeakable horror… It is a testament to Benaron’s skill that a novel about genocide … conveys so profoundly the joys of family, friendship, and community.”
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