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... read more
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... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
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.
“In Deo's mind, there was danger everywhere. If his heightened sense of drama was an inborn trait, it had certainly been nourished.”
“Everything was a crisis, and nothing that wasn't a crisis mattered.”
“Social exclusion and the ethnicization of politics … are the two central elements to violent conflict in Burundi and Rwanda that, like electrons, spin around a core of massive poverty and institutional weakness.”Highlighted by 102 Kindle customers
“Really, I trained my mind to be flexible,” Deo said. “Some of the stuff I learned was, be willing to know that even when you think you know for sure, always leave room for uncertainty. And someone who always agrees with you is not necessarily your friend. You can always learn something good in a hard time, if you survive it. And there is really no mathematical formula you can follow to achieve what you want. Just trial and error.”Highlighted by 102 Kindle customers
too—but whether we feel it or not, we are surrounded by this tremendously loving presence, and that covers every second of every day. Of everybody.”Highlighted by 97 Kindle customers
“In societies where the rule of law is close to nonexistent and security forces are neither effective nor trusted, small groups of people willing to use violence can create enough chaos and fear to force everyone into making violent choices.”Highlighted by 94 Kindle customers
“When too much is too much or too bad is too bad, we laugh as if it was too good. You just laugh instead of crying. Accidents of birth.”Highlighted by 76 Kindle customers
In order to go on with our lives, we are always capable of making the ominous into the merely strange.Highlighted by 69 Kindle customers
It is possible to hate people for their weakness. They can excite your fears about yourself.Highlighted by 59 Kindle customers
“By all means, let’s do prevention! Prevent people from suffering! Don’t wait for people to feel like their lives are not worth living. Once they feel that way, how are they going to feel about another person’s life?”Highlighted by 57 Kindle customers
A lot of Western thought and psychological advice assume that it is healthy to flush out and dissect one’s memories, and maybe this is true. And yet for all that, I began to have a simultaneous and opposite feeling: that there was such a thing as too much remembering, that too much of it could suffocate a person, and indeed a culture. Our tour of sites began to seem relentless. Observing Deo’s endlessly renewed sorrow, I found myself thinking that there was something also to be said for a culture with a word like gusimbura.Highlighted by 42 Kindle customers
“Distracting pain with pain,” Deo called this practice. It was common among peasants in Rwanda and Burundi, who had little access to pharmacology but a lot of experience with pain. It was a gruesome and harmful form of palliation, and for Deo it expressed a psychological truth with broad application—that pains exist in layers, with the most excruciating at the top obscuring the pains beneath.Highlighted by 42 Kindle customers
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