35 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2000

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Important Quotes

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“There are many ways in which poverty finds its way into the bodies of the destitute.” 

(Part 1, Page 87)

This is a favored saying of Bishop Bernard Bududira—an influential figure Deo encounters during his high school years. Deo, in fact, becomes so inspired by the Bishop’s teaching, he tries to build a clinic when he is only in the eleventh grade. 

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“God is just. God is never unjust. And we will finish them soon. Keep working, keep working. We will finish them soon, we will finish them soon.” 

(Part 1, Page 131)

This is something of a chant Deo hears before and during the Burundi genocide. Kidder later encounters in a museum and compares it to a “satanic inversion of a hymn” (241). 

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“I think I sensed something missing: the protective opaqueness that many Americans, maybe especially black Americans, learn to put on for strangers, certainly by the time they are thirty. Deo’s face jumped out at me.” 

(Part 2, Page 149)

The book’s author, Tracy Kidder, describes Deo upon their first meeting in Boston in 2003. He comments on the vulnerability he witnessed when he first saw Deo; this is, perhaps, what drew them together.