The January/February issue of mental_floss featured an unusually sober, and sobering, article -- the second in a series on global conflicts -- that explained the reasons for the Rwandan massacres of 1994. It was written in clear, straightforward terms, and I remember thinking at the time that maybe tragedies of such magnitude demand that kind of description; there's no point in cluttering it with overblown rhetoric because the atrocities speak for themselves. That thought was in the back of my mind again this weekend while I read "My Parents' Bedroom," a short story in the New Yorker told from the perspective of a nine-year-old child with a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother. Writing with a juvenile narrator, it's easy to slip into cloying, singsong faux innocence; this story, however, is almost baldly simple. It is also the most devastating thing I've read in years.
If the link is no longer current by the time you click on it, there seems to be a permanent archive here.