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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, read by Robin Miles.

A riveting tale of dislocation, survival and the power of stories to break or save us.

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbours began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her 15-year-old sister, Clare, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety - perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was 12, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States, where she embarked on another journey, ultimately graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and 100 years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of ‘victim’ and recognise the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

©2018 Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary and heartrending. Wamariya is as fiercely talented as she is courageous." (Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

What listeners say about The Girl Who Smiled Beads

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  • vimmi vatish
  • 06-13-18

utterly outstanding.

Beautifully and sensitively narrated. Deeply moving story. A pearl to humanity, crafted with poetry and heart, and an inspiring invitation to reclaim our lives and loves.

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  • ADVC
  • 05-01-20

Challenging, uncomfortable, unmissable

Wow! I am deeply moved by the powerful memoir of this young lady. It is, at times, incredibly challenging and uncomfortable. Clementine Wamariya does not want to be associated with 'survivor porn'. She does not want to be a hero, a fighter, someone we can put in a box with a neat label that allows us to assuage our horror at what she lived through and our guilt over our failure to make a stand for the millions of people living through similar situations today. She challenges us to see, truly to see. She challenges us to come from a place of curiosity and models this by excavating her past and letting us into her journey to make sense of herself and her place in the world. The narration was similarly powerful. Highly recommended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-21-19

Africa

It took me a while to get used to swapping between recent and past chapters. I listened sporadically at first so that didn't help... Then went on holiday and had time to not put it down! I felt Clemantine's sadness and anger. I could see her in Africa and kept hoping she would go to Zimbabwe. I'm glad she realised at the end that her mother cared for her in the best way with her prayers. Read this book. It has meaning and relevance, especially the 'orange'.

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  • Lucy
  • 11-06-18

Well worth the read

This should be required reading for anyone about to work with child refugees. While every child's experiences are different, so many important aspects of childhood trauma and it's consequences are covered. An excellent audio book.

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  • Julie bell
  • 06-30-18

not for me!

I found the narrator very difficult. Emotionless and badly punctuated. The book angry and difficult. Not because of the difficult subject matter but the way the story is told.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-06-19

Interesting read.

Beautifully read. I found the story itself a little hard to follow at times but it was true to a young persons perspective I guess.

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  • ashlea
  • 06-05-18

I couldn’t handle the narrator

I have read excerpts of this book and the storyline is so gripping however the narrator they have chosen left me not able to get past the first chapter. She pauses between words in a sentence and sounds as if she doesn’t know the words coming which is so frustrating to listen to.