David Belton - When the Hills Ask For Your Blood (3 stars)

David Belton - When the Hills Ask For Your Blood

A lyrical mix of fiction and non fiction regarding the Rwandan genocide, from BBC journalist Belton


A lyrical mix of fiction and non fiction that not only depicts the horrors of a recent history but delves into the very heart of human behaviour, When the Hills Ask for Your Blood is BBC journalist David Belton’s quest to expose and revisit the terror of the Rwandan genocide 20 years on.

Belton intertwines his own experiences with the real stories of three others: Jean-Pierre, a man who hides down a cesspit for three months to insure his survival in the Rwandan capital; his wife, Odette, and their two infant children who trek hundreds of miles to safety; and Vjeko Curic, a missionary priest who helps to save thousands of lives, frequently risking his own. The recurrently shifting stories take a while to get used to, and the language at times becomes lost between factual and creative: Belton's attempts to describe the authentic feelings and stories of others often feel stunted and slightly self-conscious. It is Belton’s own memoirs that prove the most sincere: more touching and eloquently descriptive than tentatively biographical. Poetic or literal however, Belton writes a poignant testament to those who stood bravely in the face of horror and continually struggle to make a difference.

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