Left to Tell


Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Left to Tell: Introduction Summary & Analysis

Immaculée hears the killers shouting her name, saying they know she’s there somewhere. These killers are her former friends and neighbors. One of them says he has killed 399 “cockroaches” and wants to make it 400. Immaculée is crouched inside a “secret bathroom.” She is terrified, and wonders if her family members are dead or alive. Immaculée prays, and the killers move on to the next house. She is relieved, but will soon come to realize that while God has “spared” her, she hasn’t been “saved.” What follows is her story of finding God amongst one of the worst genocides in history. 
Rather than starting her story at the beginning, Immaculée begins in the middle, during one of the most horrific and terrifying moments of her life. This climactic introduction establishes that the story to come is not, on the surface, a happy one. However, as Immaculée makes clear, in the midst of the horror there is a positive and redemptive element to the story, rooted in her relationship with God. 
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon