Good Prose is an inspiring book about writing—about the creation of good prose—and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. It is a succinct, authoritative, and entertaining arbiter of standards in contemporary writing, offering guidance for the professional writer and the beginner alike. This wise and useful book is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to read good books and longs to write one.

"Writers of all stripes, from fledgling journalists to essayists of the highest rank, stand to benefit from this engrossing manual."—Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild


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Strength in What Remains is the story of Deogratias, a young medical student from the central African nation of Burundi. Through no fault of his own, he was forced onto a terrifying journey, a journey that split his life in two. First there was a six-months-long escape on foot from ethnic violence in Burundi and from genocide in Rwanda. Almost by accident he ended up in New York City, where he lived for a time in Central Park.

When I first heard Deo’s story, I had one simple thought: I would not have survived. I hoped in part to reproduce that feeling in recounting what seems to me a rich tale: an adventure story, a survival story, an immigrant’s story, a story of despair and determination, of evil and kindness. I also hoped to humanize what, to most westerners anyway, is a mysterious, little-known part of the world.  But above all, I wanted to address the question of how one survives the torment of memories like Deo’s, memories with a distinctly ungovernable quality.

Although Deo is now an American citizen, he has chosen to return to Burundi repeatedly. With the help of family and American friends, he has built a clinic and public health system amid the postwar wreckage of a rural village — part of a beginning, he hopes, of a new Burundi. This facility was a pile of rocks when I visited the site in the summer of 2006. By the fall of 2008, it had grown into a medical center with several new buildings, a trained professional staff, and a fully stocked pharmacy. In its first year of operation it treated 21,000 different patients. The organization that Deo founded and that sponsors and operates this facility is called Village Health Works. If you’d like to know more about it and its work, please use the link below.

Watch the video trailer for Strength in What Remains here.

Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Strength in What Remains, Mountains Beyond Mountains, My Detachment, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.


Strength in What Remains
Trailer