Tracy Kidder, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, and the enduring classic Mountains Beyond Mountains, has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative.” In this new book, Kidder gives us the superb story of a hero for our time. Strength in What Remains is a wonderfully written, inspiring account of one man’s remarkable American journey and of the ordinary people who helped him–a brilliant testament to the power of will and of second chances.
Deo arrives in America from Burundi in search of a new life. Having survived a civil war and genocide, plagued by horrific dreams, he lands at JFK airport with two hundred dollars, no English, and no contacts. He ekes out a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores. Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life, pointing him eventually in the direction of Columbia University, medical school, and a life devoted to healing. Kidder breaks new ground in telling this unforgettable story as he travels with Deo back over a turbulent life in search of meaning and forgiveness.
An extraordinary writer, Tracy Kidder once again shows us what it means to be fully human by telling a story about the heroism inherent in ordinary people, a story about a life based on hope.
From the Hardcover edition.
Tracy Kidder (MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS) has a gift for crafting exhilarating narrative nonfiction, and he has found perhaps his most inspirational subject in Burundian refugee Deogratias, who barely escaped Africa with his life, but eventually returned there to build a hospital after a remarkable rise from poverty and homelessness in the United States. When the Rwandan genocide of the mid-1990s spilled across the border into Burundi, Deo and other Tutsis were suddenly being hunted by murderous Hutus, causing him to flee back into Rwanda. As Deo reveals to Kidder, he was faced with almost certain death on numerous occasions, but was miraculously able to escape the slaughter and fly to New York, though he did not speak English and did not know a single soul who could help get him started. He found some semblance of refuge with a homeless community in Central Park, and began delivering groceries and doing other odd jobs, while spending his free time at the library reading dictionaries to learn the language. A few fateful connections led him to Columbia University, where he was able to complete his medical degree. By the time Deo and Kidder return to Burundi in 2006 to see the medical clinic he built in a remote village, any reader with half a heart should be reaching for the box of tissues as a result of this truly superlative true story. Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Books of 2009 and named a finalist for the 2009 National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction.
- Biography + Autobiography, Social Science, Medical
- Human Geography, General, Emigration + Immigration, Education + Training, Medical
- May 4, 2010
- May 4, 2010
- Tracy Kidder