The exemplar of the nonfiction narrative, Tracy Kidder’s Strength In What Remains (Random House, $26) tells a moving story about a young man named Deogratius who escapes from death in Burundi and arrives on our shores penniless, friendless, and with no English. Through his intelligence, diligence, and sweetness, he does find friends who help him. He goes from sleeping in Central Park and delivering bags for Gristide’s to attending Columbia School of General Studies and Dartmouth Medical School. Before graduating he decided to return to Burundi and establish a health center; it is there that Kidder visits him. Deogratius’s story represents what the United States at its best has to offer the world: a haven, opportunity, and support, and Kidder feels that our country gains as much by this as the individuals assisted.
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