Thursday, August 27, 2009

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

From the author's website: Strength in What Remains is the story of Deo, an African immigrant who survived the genocide in his home country, Burundi, near Rwanda. The first part of the story alternates between Deo's past in Burundi, and his more recent time spent in New York City. These parts are each in turn horrific and hopeful. As Kidder describes Deo's challenges in each location we can compare and contrast the parallels like having to sleep outdoors as part of the culture in Burundi and then as a homeless person in the city.

The second part of the book is in Kidder's voice as he and Deo revisit the places of Deo's past. The story really slowed down for me here. The first part of the book was a challenging read emotionally and a somewhat confusing read with the switching back and forth but I was so fascinated that I stuck with the story. In the second half, the challenge became sticking with it even when my mind wandered, the story was still good but somehow having it filtered through Kidder it seemed to lose it's sense of urgency.

Even with the loss of momentum at the end, Strength in What Remains was a satisfying read. This is a good story and an important one to tell. It adds to our knowledge of what man is capable of - both the evil of the genocide and the compassion of those that helped Deo to heal.

I read this book for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

This is the first review I've seen of this book - it sounds like it's worth reading. I saw Tracy Kidder speak at BEA and he was fascinating.