Strength in What Remains (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Strength in What Remains might seem a companion piece to Tracy Kidder’s best-selling Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (2003). Farmer, whose foundation Partners in Health has reinvented health care delivery in some of the world’s poorest regions, figures briefly in this new book as a mentor to its central figure, Deogratias Niyizonkiza. Kidder in fact met Deo in Boston while researching Farmer’s history, though three years elapsed before he began investigating Deo’s own dramatic story. Deo escaped from the 1993-1994 ethnic genocides of Burundi and Rwanda, reinvented himself as an American immigrant, and, inspired by Partners in Health, returned to Burundi to launch his own public health initiative, Village Health Works. If Farmer exemplifies the mixture of American determination, ambition, energy, and idealism that Kidder has typically celebrated in works such as The Soul of a New Machine (1981) and Among Schoolchildren (1989), Deo led Kidder into what he termed “the land of Joe Conrad.This is the heart of darkness right here.” Deo’s painstaking and painful recovery of self after surviving the nightmare of history forms Kidder’s abiding subject.
The book’s title derives from William Wordsworth’s famous lines from “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” included as the book’s epigraph.
(The entire section is 1874 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
America 201, no. 8 (October 5/, 2009): 37-38.
Booklist 105, no. 17 (May 1, 2009): 4.
Kirkus Reviews 77, no. 12 (June 15, 2009): 645.
Library Journal 134, no. 20 (December 15, 2009): 70.
Publishers Weekly 256, no. 19 (May 11, 2009): 40.
The New York Times, September 2, 2009, p. 1.
The New York Times Book Review, August 30, 2009, p. 12.
Time 174, no. 9 (September 7, 2009): 20.
The Village Voice 54, no. 51 (December 16, 2009): 35.
The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009, p. A13.
(The entire section is 48 words.)