Ron Suskind, in a New York Times review of Strength in What Remains wrote:
The transaction between writer and subject can easily be stage-managed for marketplace effect — moments overplayed to guide readers to tears or elation or preordained insights — and prose often takes on the weight of sentimentality, the great enemy of good writing, as J. D. Salinger put it, giving something "more tenderness than God gives to it."Suskind reassures us that Kidder tells Deo's story without the "weight of sentimentality."
What happened in this case? While reporting his 2003 best seller, Mountains Beyond Mountains, a fitfully earnest book about a character almost impossible to love too much — Dr. Paul Farmer, leader of a global campaign to eradicate preventable disease — Kidder stumbled across a spectral African refugee who had signed on with the doctor’s organization, Partners in Health, as a bit player, a guy helping out, answering e-mail, "performing any jobs that needed doing." His name was Deogratias, or "thanks be to God" in Latin.
Strength in What Remains is Deo’s story.
This is Kidder’s great feat, one that has eluded him in some of his later work: trusting the reader enough to present characters in the full splatter of unsettling complexity.The Howe Library will take holds if the kit is checked out, but will not take advance bookings. Give them a call at 643-4120.