Saturday, 15 January 2011

Tracy Kidder and small city America

On January fourth of this year I took out a book from Sarasota’s fabulous Selby Library.  It was written by Tracy Kidder.  It’s called “Strength in what remains”.  I found it to be a powerful and moving story of DeoGracias, a young man from Burundi.

DeoGracias (yes, that’s his name) survived the ghastly civil war/genocide in his homeland, and against all odds he made a new life in these United States.

Tracy Kidder is a good writer. He tells the story of DeoGracias with clarity and objective sympathy.

I enjoyed Kidder’s writing so much that I  sought out another of his titles when I was back at the library. I chose “Home Town” (published by Washington Square Press in 2000).  It’s a marvelous account of life in Northampton, MA - a town which I know well.

To quote from the dust jacket:

“ A host of real people are alive in these pages:  a tycoon with a crippling ailment; a criminal whom the place has beguiled; a genial and merciful judge; a single mother struggling to start a new life at Smith College; and, at the center, a policeman who patrols the streets of his beloved hometown with s stern yet endearing brand of morality…”

Readers of this blog who know Northampton, MA will rejoice in this book, even as they recognise every street.  Folks from  other states or nations will get a unique and splendid view of small city America should they borrow or buy it.

Thank you Tracy Kidder!

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