BookBrowse Reviews Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

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Strength in What Remains

A journey of remembrance and forgiveness

By Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2009,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: May 2010,
    304 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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A biography of a survivor of the Burundian genocide, from the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains

Deogratias Niyizonkiza faces a paradox at the beginning of Tracy Kidder’s book. He is a Burundian Tutsi who has survived the 1993 genocide to start a new life in America, and he is inescapably haunted by what he has just been through. But how can he remember the people he lost in the massacre and tame his own horrendous memories if Burundian culture prohibits even speaking the names of the dead? To gusimbura someone, to talk about them after they have died, is profane because it reminds people of loss, bringing something bad from the past into the present. Yet to not talk about the thousands of people brutally slaughtered throughout his country is to allow those events to vanish.

DeoTracy Kidder’s solution to this paradox is to twist the chronology of Deo’s story in his telling of it. The first half of Strength in What Remains takes place in 1994, when Deo was pretty much ...

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