Although Will Ferguson is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction, Road Trip Rwanda is the first book of his I’ve read. It’s a travel book about a journey to Rwanda taken with a friend, Jean-Claude, who grew up in that country and got out shortly before the 1994 genocide. Though the focus is very much on the beauty, vitality and energy of a country that has thoroughly (and to a large degree successfully) reinvented itself after the horrifying events of 20 years ago, the genocide is always in the background of this story. Ferguson talks to many survivors and visits places where some of the more egregious acts of slaughter took place, so if you don’t want to read about the Rwandan genocide, this is not a good book for you. If you want to read about the successes and also the challenges of Rwanda today, and how the country has tried to meet those challenges, then you will enjoy Road Trip Rwanda.
Among the awards Will Ferguson has won for previous books is the Leacock Medal for humour. While there might not seem to be much fertile ground for humour in revisiting sites of one of the last century’s most horrific genocides, Ferguson does manage to inject a lot of gentle, self-mocking humour into other parts of his Rwandan road trip, and the result is an enjoyable and informative read.