To Kill The Devil: A Love Story From Rwanda, Book Review

By Conor O’Neill

Kill The Devil: A Love Story From Rwanda is a novel co-written by acclaimed Belfast author and peacebuilder Tony Macaulay and Rwandan screenwriter Juvens Nsabimana. Set 10 years after the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and running over the space of near a decade, what grabs the reader instantly, and particularly to those with Macaulay’s previous autobiographies and his first novel, 2019’s Belfast Gate is that it’s written with a more cinematic approach. Thanks, no doubt by the screenwriter’s touch of Nsabimana.

The story follows the journey of genocide survivor Uwera Patricia and perpetrator Hakizimana Damascene as they try to rebuild their lives and kill the devils of the past. The book, as one would expect with a writer of Macaulay’s merit, is well written and the story, with its multiple support characters and sub-plots, is a page-turner of a read.

I first read it without a notepad and this book of 348 pages and 60 chapters can easily be read over a space of two days. The reader will find it hard to resist turning that next page and thinking ‘just one more chapter before lights out!’ What’s most enthralling about the book is it is literally taken scene-by-scene and turned chapter-by-chapter from script to novel.

Macaulay and Nsabiman (pictured above) have achieved what many co-authors have failed before them in writing a coherent novel from the barebones of a movie script.

The attention to detail regarding all things Rwandan give the piece a touch of authenticity it would be nigh on impossible from one not native to the country.

Yes, the subject matter may make for a ‘difficult’ read at times, but levity and hope are never far away from the essence of this novel – the Love Story addendum gives it away really, but throw in some action scenes and high tension and Kill The Devil delivers on more than pure sentimentality and reconciliation.

Macaulay is well known for his Christian faith, but none of that faith is pushed down the reader’s throat and what’s delivered is a triumph of a novel and one I expect to see grace the big screen in the near future.

Kill The Devil: A Love Story From Rwanda is available from all good bookshops.

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