Lukas Bärfuss

One Hundred Days

Lukas Bärfuss
Hundert Tage
Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2008
197 S.
ISBN 978-3-8353-0271-6
Paperback edition: btb Verlag, 2010

Rwanda 1990. The Swiss development aid worker, David Hohl, arrives filled with ideals in a respectable country, in the "Switzerland of Africa". But right from the start, his idealism meets with sobering experiences. His work is bureaucratic; questionable development projects by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in support of a dictatorship. In the capital Kigali, a boring dump, chaos erupts when the Pope addresses a packed stadium. Hohl is almost crushed by the crowd. In the hospital, he finds Agatha whom he had met at the airport in Brussels. They become involved in a passionate relationship. Then the Tutsi rebels march in and the genocide is imminent. Agatha, a Hutu, becomes ideologically active. Hohl is troubled to discover that this intensifies his sexual lust.

When the massacre starts in 1994, the development aid workers leave the country. Hohl spontaneously decides to remain behind and hides away in his house. His gardener stashes looted goods in the house but takes care of Hohl, until the latter realizes that he is one of the murderers and drives him away. Hohl is half dehydrated when Hutu militia arrive at his house and give him water and food. When the rebels are on the point of entering Kigali, the gardener is killed by the militia. Hohl does not prevent this even though he would have been able to. He escapes to the Congo with the Hutus. In the refugee camp, the mayors who had ordered the massacre are organising camp life. Hohl also provides aid relief to the murderers. When he hears that Agatha, now leader of a murder gang, is in Goma, he obtains money through corruption in order to reach her. In Goma, Agatha dies of cholera before his eyes.

Bärfuss, Lukas: Hundert Tage (One Hundred Days)

To relate a genocide is just as daring as political criticism in a novel. Lukas Bärfuss takes on both.More ...