The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

By Clemantine Wamariya  and Elizabeth Weil
Read by Robin Miles

9.00 Hours 04/24/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    Available on 04/24/2018

    ISBN: 9780525526292

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    Available on 04/24/2018

    ISBN: 9780525526285

“The plot provided by the universe was filled with starvation, war and rape. I would not—could not—live in that tale.” Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

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Summary

Summary

A LibraryReads Pick for April

“The plot provided by the universe was filled with starvation, war and rape. I would not—could not—live in that tale.”

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

In her prose as in her life, Wamariya is brave, intelligent, and generous. Sliding easily between past and present, this memoir is a soulful, searing story about how families survive. Booklist
A powerful record of the refugee experience... [with] moments of potent self-reckoning. Kirkus Reviews
“Extraordinary and heart-rending. Wamariya is as fiercely talented as she is courageous.” Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Elizabeth Weil

Titles by Author

Author Bio: Clemantine Wamariya

Clemantine Wamariya is a storyteller and human-rights advocate. Born in Kigali, Rwanda and displaced by conflict, she migrated throughout seven African countries as a child. At age twelve, she was granted refugee status in the United States and went on to receive a BA in comparative literature from Yale University.

Titles by Author

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 9.00
Audience: Adult
Language: English