The Past Ahead is the story of the destinies of two people after their experiences of the genocide in Rwanda. Isaro is orphaned, exiled, and now returned to her native country. Niko is a character in a novel that Isaro writes to help her understand her country's recent horrific past. Isaro's quest to recover the memory of the life she has lost is haunted by her nightmare imaginings, whose horror is given expression through Niko, a mute social outcast. When an army intent on massacre reaches his village, the once gentle young man is forced to become a killer. After the fighting ends, Niko retreats to a cave that he shares with a family of gorillas to try to escape the burden of his guilt. In his solitude, he is plagued with painful memories that will not leave him. As Isaro writes Niko’s story, she succumbs to the sadness of death, violence, and the dreadful reminders of her terrible past. Stunning and powerfully written, Gatore’s novel lays bare the unfathomable human cost of this international tragedy.
A real novel where memories comprise the trauma of a lost diary.
Presse Regional (France)
The Past Ahead is a novel of blurred lines, the alternately healing and destructive power of memory, and irrepressible nature of truth. If we can only truly understand genocide through the art it inspires, then Gatore's The Past Ahead is as close a historical account of the atrocities of war and both the resilience and malleability of the human spirit as we can hope to receive.
The slow realization that everything is wrong.
At the beginning of the genocide, writer Gilbert Gatore opens an abyss. The Past Ahead is the history, powerful and marvelous, of an executioner and a victim.
Surviving the Rwandan tragedy, Gilbert Gatore at age 26 has published a strong first novel the poses universal questions with delicacy and courage.
Livres et idees (France)
...[a] vibrant work of fiction that explores what it takes to make a monster out of ahuman being, and challenges the definition of survivor.
As a child, he witnessed the murderous folly of identification cards. Thanks to fiction, he closely approaches horror that is impossible to utter.