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Strength in What Remains Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Import
Special deckle edge formatThis book has a deckle edge format with distinctive, feathery edge papers. The deckle edge adds a decorative, textured edging to the book.
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Praise for Tracy Kidder’s Strength In What Remains
“That 63-year-old Tracy Kidder may have just written his finest work -- indeed, one of the truly stunning books I've read this year -- is proof that the secret to memorable nonfiction is so often the writer’s readiness to be surprised. Deo’s experience can feel like this era’s version of the Ellis Island migration. Deo is propelled, so often, by pure will, and his victories…summon a feeling of restored confidence in human nature and American opportunity. Then we plunge into hell. Having only glimpses of Deo’s past, we suddenly get a full-blown portrait. Kidder’s rendering of what Deo endured and survived just before he boarded the plane for New York is one of the most powerful passages of modern nonfiction.”
–Ron Suskind, The New York Time Book Review
“Kidder tells Deo's story with characteristic skill and sensitivity in a complex narrative that moves back and forth through time to build a richly layered portrait. One of the pleasures of reading Kidder is that sooner or later, in most of his books, someone puts us in mind of the closing lines from ``Middlemarch'': ``For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.''”
“A tale of unspeakable barbarism and unshakeable strength.” –Time Magazine
“It is a mark of the skill and empathy of Mr. Kidder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, that he makes Deo's story come alive believably–as the experience of a real individual–and avoids…the usual tropes of a triumph-of-the- human-spirit tale. [T]he book encourages a general hope that individuals can transcend even the greatest horrors.”
–Wall Street Journal
"Strength in What Remains" builds in magnitude and poignancy. It is moving without being uplifting, because Kidder has the intelligence to avoid any hint of the saccharine within its pages.” –Chicago Tribune
“[Tracy Kidder’s] kind of literary journalism…involves seeing the world through the eyes of those he writes about; not judging them, simply presenting them as they move through life… Kidder is one of the best, if not the best, at it, garnering a Pulitzer, a National Book Award and generations of grateful readers.” –Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times
“In its sober ability to astonish, this may well be Tracy Kidder's best book.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Tracy Kidder's new book "Strength in What Remains" is...a narrative infused with a broad, universal appeal and occasional touches of brilliance. He offers us fine prose, complex characters, and realistic portrayals. Deo's resilience, his struggle to overcome adversity strikes a chord in all of us. His story reaffirms our hope that one person can make a difference... [T]his book is one not to be missed. –Seattle Times
Tracy Kidder is probably one of the few authors alive who can craft a narrative from the extremes of despair and hope and make it work beautifully. Kidder is a master of creative nonfiction, employing both journalistic and novelistic techniques to tell a true story, compellingly. –Steve Weinberg, Raleigh News & Observer
“With an anthropologist’s eye and a novelist’s pen, Pulitzer Prize—winning Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains) recounts the story of Deo, the Burundian former medical student turned American émigré at the center of this strikingly vivid story…. This profoundly gripping, hopeful and crucial testament is a work of the utmost skill, sympathy and moral clarity.”
–Publishers Weekly ( starred review)
“A tale of ethnocide, exile and healing by a master of narrative nonfiction…. Terrifying at turns, but tremendously inspiring…a key document in the growing literature devoted to postgenocidal justice.” –Kirkus Reviews
"Read this book, and it's one that you will not likely forget. The story of a journey, classical in its way, but contemporary and very modern in its details. It's written with such simplicity and lucidity that it transcends the moment and becomes as powerful and compelling as those journeys of myth." –Jonathan Harr, author of A Civil Action and The Lost Painting
“The reporting is impeccable, but it’s Kidder’s great feat of sympathetic imagination that dazzles. Walk a mile in Deo’s shoes; your world will be larger and darker for it.”
–William Finnegan, author of Cold New World and Crossing the Line
“The journey of Deo achieves mythic importance in Tracy Kidder’s expert hands.”
–Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family
“Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains is a tour de force. Inspiring. Moving. Gripping. Deo’s story is remarkable, stunning really. His journey is the story of our times, one that keeps the rest of us from forgetting. This book will stir the conscience and resurrect your faith in the human spirit.” –Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
"Believe me, at the end of this riveting narrative, your eyes will not be dry."
–Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
About the Author
Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, My Detachment, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is an amazing though disturbing book. It tells the true story of a medical student, Deo, who escaped from the devastating civil war and genocide in Burundi and came to the United States. The author details the traumas he encounters both in his home country and as an immigrant who doesn’t speak English. The story is told with a number of flashbacks and flash forwards which give almost agonizing detail about his trials and his pain through all this. Deo is amazingly persistent and determined to complete his medical training and to help his people heal. Deo should inspire all of us to overcome our troubles and pursue difficult goals in life.
"Strength in What Remains" is the story of Deogratias--or "Deo"--a young Burundi medical student and a Tutsi. When the Burundi war breaks out in 1994, Deo escapes to New York with $200 in his pocket and finds work as a grocery store delivery clerk. Living on the street, he almost gives up in despair, but he befriends a politically active nun who finds him a home in Lower Manhattan with an older, childless couple, who later pay his way through Columbia. Deo subsequently finds work with the global health organization founded by Paul Farmer, the subject of one of Kidder's earlier books, "Mountains Beyond Mountains." With the experience he gains at PIH, Deo eventually returns to Burundi to build a health clinic there.
Tracy Kidder's true story of Deo's life has two parts. The first part tells Deo's story from the time he is a small child to the time he graduates from Columbia and starts to work at PIH. It's powerful, indeed frequently overwhelming. But the second half of the problem is problematic. Here Kidder describes the trip he took with Deo back to Burundi, to retrace the path Deo's took while escaping the violence and to make plans for the health clinic. Reading this section recalls watching a Michael Moore movie: you just wish that Moore would get back behind the camera and make his movie, without inserting himself into it, and the same seems true of Kidder. His reactions to the killing fields of Burundi aren't what should matter, and yet there he is telling you about his inability to feel the appropriate feelings.
There's also another problem with the second half of the book: sometimes it seems that Kidder has forgotten what he already wrote. For example, one of the most memorable moments in Deo's experience occurs when he's been on the run for weeks, and, exhausted, is about to give up just short of the Rwandan border. A Hutu woman sees him, coaxes to keep moving, and lies the border police saying that he is her son, in order to save him. Kidder tells this story in detail, in the first half of the book, writing: "'I'm too tired,' [Deo] told the woman. `I'm just going to stay here.' `No, no,' she said. `The border, it's nearby.'". In the second half, when they revisit the scene, Kidder describes a conversation he has with Deo: "'What was it you told her?' I asked over the noise of the plane. Gazing out, Deo replied `I'm too tired. I'm just going to stay here.' And she said `No, no. It's not too far to the border.'"
I happened to read this book shortly after reading Chimamanda Ngozi's "Half the Yellow Sun," a fictional account of a different African civil war: the Nigerian war that predated Burundi's by about 30 years. Both books pack an emotional wallop, but somehow Ngozi's fiction had an immediacy for me that Kidder was approaching in the first part of his book, but upset in the second.