35 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2000

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Introduction-Chapter 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: "Flights"

Introduction Summary: “Burundi, June 2006”

The Introduction begins in the present (2006) with the author, Tracy Kidder, travelling in Burundi in the company of Deogratias (Deo), the Burundian man whose story the book chronicles. They are in the shadow of the Ganza Mountain, near Deo’s home. Kidder notes this is a landlocked, poor, agrarian country. They are on the way to Deo’s home, Butanza (Kidder has changed the real name to protect Deo’s relatives). Deo points out a place in the mountains where his friend, Clovis once became fatally sick. He also insists that Clovis cannot be mentioned in Butanza; he explains there is a word, gusimbura, which means haunting people with the past. Unlike in America where people seek the past, in Burundi, they try to forget.

Chapter 1 Summary: “Bujumbura – New York, May 1994”

The narrative retreats 12 years from the Introduction to the end of one phase in Deo’s nightmare. Although this book chronicles Deo’s story from fleeing genocide to achieving a successful and meaningful life, it begins with him in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura on the verge of escaping his war-torn country. Now, readers do not know how Deo has arrived at this moment; he is boarding a plane to leave Burundi.