The Crossing

Original title: La traversée

Publication Date:

March 2021



Original language and publisher

French | Les Arènes


Current Affairs

The Crossing

Original title: La traversée


An odyssey into the heart of Africa.

“Double genocide”

Genocide is an utterly incomprehensible crime – the killing of men, women and children just because they have been born – yet it is a crime that soon provokes denial. The Armenian genocide was contested in Turkey and Jews have confronted gas chamber denials. In Rwanda we witnessed the concept of “double genocide”, which was brought to our attention by Hubert Védrine and Pierre Péan. The massacre of 800 000 Tutsi in April and June of 1994 was followed by the retaliation killing of hundreds of thousands of Hutu by Paul Kagame’s troops during the Congo War, hidden from public view in the impenetrable forests of this continent country.

The investigation

Patrick de Saint-Exupéry travelled to the depths of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to get to the bottom of the inquiry. He located the sites of the massacres. He spoke to witnesses. His book offers a true history of the Congo War, which caused a few thousand deaths during the sporadic fighting; however there is no record of a second genocide.

Patrick de Saint-Exupéry has carried out his investigation in France and in Rwanda for twenty years. He knows the subject matter better than anyone. The Crossing takes the reader on an incredibly powerful journey that is in turn poignant and engaging, and occasionally funny. The book is set against the backdrop of the Congo River and its “moss-like” expanse of inextricable forests. Its isolated inhabitants live in a very different reality: they are the kings of System D and lord over it.

The Crossing also provides a reflection on how westerners are viewed in Africa one hundred and twenty years after the publication of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Marketing Information

  • Over 9000 copies sold