Author(s): Clemantine Wamariya
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were othunder.o In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety-perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States, where she embarked on another journey-to excavate her past and, after years of being made to feel less than human, claim her individuality. Raw, urgent, and bracingly original, The Girl Who Smiled Beads captures the true costs and aftershocks of war- what is forever destroyed; what can be repaired; the fragility of memory; the disorientation that comes of other people seeing you only as broken-thinking you need, and want, to be saved. But it is about more than the brutality of war. It is about owning your experiences, about the life we create- intricately detailed, painful, beautiful, a work in progress.
"Extraordinary and heartrending. Wamariya is as fiercely talented as she is courageous" -- Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao "Clemantine Wamariya has written a defining, luminescent memoir that shines a sharp light on the dark forces that roil our age . . . Her gripping and brutally honest reflections inspire us to count our blessings and summon us to follow her fierce and unrelenting example to try to help build the world we wish to see" -- Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell
Clementine Wamariya (Author) Clemantine Wamariya is a storyteller, public speaker, social entrepreneur, and human rights advocate. Born in Kigali, Rwanda, displaced by conflict, Clemantine migrated throughout seven African countries as a child. At age twelve, she was granted asylum in the United States and went on to receive a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University. Clemantine now uses stories drawn from her experiences to catalyze change and create community. She lives in San Francisco.Elizabeth Weil (Author) Elizabeth Weil is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters.