Strength in What Remains


“That 63-year-old Tracy Kidder may have just written his finest work — indeed, one of the truly stunning books I've read this year — is proof that the secret to memorable nonfiction is so often the writer’s readiness to be surprised.  Deo’s experience can feel like this era’s version of the Ellis Island migration.  Deo is propelled, so often, by pure will, and his victories…summon a feeling of restored confidence in human nature and American opportunity. Then we plunge into hell. Having only glimpses of Deo’s past, we suddenly get a full-blown portrait. Kidder’s rendering of what Deo endured and survived just before he boarded the plane for New York is one of the most powerful passages of modern nonfiction.”
—Ron Suskind, The New York Times Book Review

Amazon Best of the Month (September)
Review and link to podcast interview

“Kidder tells Deo’s story with characteristic skill and sensitivity in a complex narrative that moves back and forth through time to build a richly layered portrait. One of the pleasures of reading Kidder is that sooner or later, in most of his books, someone puts us in mind of the closing lines from Middlemarch: ‘For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.’”
—Boston Globe

“Absorbing…‘Strength in What Remains’ is perhaps at its finest an examination of the nature of human charity and good will.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“A tale of unspeakable barbarism and unshakeable strength.”
—Time Magazine

“It is a mark of the skill and empathy of Mr. Kidder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, that he makes Deo's story come alive believably—as the experience of a real individual—and avoids…the usual tropes of a triumph-of-the-human-spirit tale. [T]he book encourages a general hope that individuals can ­transcend even the greatest horrors.”
—Wall Street Journal

“‘Strength in What Remains’ builds in magnitude and poignancy. It is moving without being uplifting, because Kidder has the intelligence to avoid any hint of the saccharine within its pages.”
—Chicago Tribune

“Nobody writes nonfiction like Tracy Kidder…[STRENGTH] is an intimate portrait of human beings in circumstances both incredible and ordinary, gracefully and unforgettably drawn…With inimitable clarity, Kidder illuminates the complexity of ethnic cleansing, immigration, global finance, public health, and especially the refugee experience, in an extraordinary feat of empathetic biography.”
The Onion, A.V. Club

“Kidder’s uplifting true story of Deogratias Niyizonkiza just may restore your faith in humanity.”

“[Tracy Kidder’s] kind of literary journalism…involves seeing the world through the eyes of those he writes about; not judging them, simply presenting them as they move through life… Kidder is one of the best, if not the best, at it, garnering a Pulitzer, a National Book Award and generations of grateful readers.”
—Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times

“In its sober ability to astonish, this may well be Tracy Kidder's best book.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Tracy Kidder's new book ‘Strength in What Remains’ is...a narrative infused with a broad, universal appeal and occasional touches of brilliance. He offers us fine prose, complex characters, and realistic portrayals. Deo's resilience, his struggle to overcome adversity strikes a chord in all of us. His story reaffirms our hope that one person can make a difference... [T]his book is one not to be missed.”
—Seattle Times

“An inspiring story…[A]n instant classic.”
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Tracy Kidder is probably one of the few authors alive who can craft a narrative from the extremes of despair and hope and make it work beautifully. Kidder is a master of creative nonfiction, employing both journalistic and novelistic techniques to tell a true story, compellingly.”
—Steve Weinberg, Raleigh News & Observer

“With an anthropologist’s eye and a novelist’s pen, Pulitzer Prize–winning Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains) recounts the story of Deo, the Burundian former medical student turned American émigré at the center of this strikingly vivid story…. This profoundly gripping, hopeful and crucial testament is a work of the utmost skill, sympathy and moral clarity.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A tale of ethnocide, exile and healing by a master of narrative nonfiction…. Terrifying at turns, but tremendously inspiring…a key document in the growing literature devoted to postgenocidal justice.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“The journey of Deo achieves mythic importance in Tracy Kidder’s expert hands.”
—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family

“Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains is a tour de force. Inspiring. Moving. Gripping. Deo’s story is remarkable, stunning really. His journey is the story of our times, one that keeps the rest of us from forgetting. This book will stir the conscience and resurrect your faith in the human spirit.”
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

"Read this book, and it's one that you will not likely forget. The story of a journey, classical in its way, but contemporary and very modern in its details. It's written with such simplicity and lucidity that it transcends the moment and becomes as powerful and compelling as those journeys of myth."
—Jonathan Harr, author of A Civil Action

“The reporting is impeccable, but it's Kidder's great feat of sympathetic imagination that dazzles. Walk a mile in Deo's shoes; your world will be larger and darker for it."
—William Finnegan, author of Cold New World and Crossing the Line

“Believe me, at the end of this riveting narrative, your eyes will not be dry."
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and Bury the Chains