Hello from New York. This is the best (and only) pretzel croissant I've ever had. I ate two this morning while reviewing Small Country. Unclear whether I will order a third.
Gael Faye was born in Burundi to a French father and a Rwandan mother. At age 13, he fled the small, war-torn country for France, where he has lived ever since. Small Country, published in France in 2016, was an immediate hit in Europe. This is Faye's first novel. He is also a very talented rapper. I've been listening to his stuff all afternoon (turns out I remember something from Carleton's French department). His most popular song shares the name of his book (Petit Pays).
Small Country is about how war steals childhood. Faye's main character, Gabriel, is a ten year old boy growing up in Burundi. Before violence breaks out, Gabriel lives a relatively peaceful childhood. He hangs out with friends at a neighborhood spot in Bujumbura and has a secret crush on his French pen-pal, Laure. When war bursts into Burundi from neighboring Rwanda, everything is broken, including Gabriel's innocence.
While I've read a fair number of books about Rwanda (special s/o to Clemantine Wamariya for The Girl Who Smiled Beads), I've yet to read anything about Burundi. This is a superb place to start. And listen to Faye's music too.