Jennifer Haupt’s debut novel is getting a lot of buzz. From being named by Bustle as a debut novel not to miss in 2018 to a whole lot of love from booksellers, we couldn’t be more proud to release this amazing book.
What follows is the first few chapters of prologue from the novel, originally published over at Flash Fiction Online. You can read the full prologue by heading over there and giving them some visit-love.
The Girl Waits
April 14, 1994, Mubaro, Rwanda
The girl waits. There are only the silver threads of a web swooping precariously over the top left corner of a splintered window frame. There are no rays of warm light seeping through mottled glass. There is no slight breeze, no swaying jacaranda branch heavy with purple blossoms her mother sometimes plucked before church and pinned to the brim of her straw hat. These simple luxuries disappeared hours, perhaps days, ago.
She is not sure how long she’s been curled up in the darkness, under the frame of a stepladder tented with a blue tarp. Long enough so that there is only the faintest odor of paint, turpentine, urine, and a piney cleanser. Long enough that her empty stomach no longer gurgles, and the certainty of a machete blade slitting her neck no longer brings up the sour taste of fear. For as long as she can remember, her family has lived with the threat of death—maybe today, maybe tomorrow—as if each day is a gift, so easily snatched away. It occurs to her that fear is what has given the Hutus their power all of these years. The boys who sometimes shove her into the dirt while walking to school and steal her lunch. The men who come to take her father’s crops or burn the fields if he refuses. It is some small comfort that they no longer have power over her.