Small Country by Gaël Faye

Small Country: A Novel by [Faye, Gaël]

How I Read It: Audiobook/Print

Dates Read: 5/4/18-5/12/18; 4/5/19

“Genocide is an oil slick: those who don’t drown in it are polluted for life.” page 154

Okay, so this one is really deep and dark, so be prepared ladies and gentlemen. This book discusses the war and genocide specifically in Burundi, but it also discusses the Rwandan Genocide as well.

You can go into this book without any prior knowledge, but as for my background knowledge: I studied the Rwandan Genocide as part of my Honors introduction class (Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza specifically). I was aware of the Hutus and the Tutsis, and that they genuinely hated each other. What I had no clue about was that they literally have no issues in religion, land, or ideas. They hate each other purely because of race. And I’m not talking black and white, I’m talking nose size and height. That’s it. That’s bonkers. And this was a 15 year war between the two competing races. Insane.

Talking specifically about this book. This one was the very first BOTM I ever got. I read up to page 75 (shout out to Goodreads for knowing that number) and I gave up. To give you some perspective, there is only 180 pages to the whole book. By the time I gave up, the war had not started yet and the buildup that I had read ended up not really playing a role in the overall story. This puts me in a weird spot, because I feel like I read a 500 page book in less than 200 pages. The ending once the war starts is SOOOOO heavy (duh) and it’s hard to really criticize this part of the book when it wasn’t the focus for me.

To be completely honest, I probably would not have been able to get through this book if it weren’t for the audiobook. I would probably give this book 3.5 or 4 out of 5, and the pure historical significance of this book is part of the higher rating. But I do think that it is a heavy read and you really need to decide if you can handle hearing about war crimes and how dark war can be before reading this book. If you guys have thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

One thought on “Small Country by Gaël Faye

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s