Winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction: An “audacious and compelling” novel of one man trying to outrun the horrors of the Rwandan genocide (The Washington Post).
A Kansas City Star, Seattle Times, and BookBrowse Best of the Year Pick
Running the Rift follows the progress of Jean Patrick Nkuba from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life. A naturally gifted athlete, he sprints over the thousand hills of Rwanda and dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal winner in track. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a world that has become increasingly restrictive and violent for his people. As tensions mount between the Hutu and Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream that running might deliver him, and his people, from the brutality around them.
Winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Naomi Benaron has written a stunning and gorgeous novel that—through the eyes of one unforgettable boy—explores a country’s unraveling, its tentative new beginning, and the love that binds its people together.
“A profound display of imagination and empathy. Benaron writes like Jean Patrick runs, with the heart of a lion.” —The Dallas Morning News
“A novel full of unspeakable strife but also joy, humor, and love.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“This is truly fearless writing: ambitious, beautiful, unapologetically passionate.” —Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times–bestselling author
“A culturally rich and unflinching story of resilience and resistance.” —Chicago Tribune
“Benaron accomplishes the improbable feat of wringing genuine loveliness from unspeakable horror.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)