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Stringer: A Reporter's Journey In The Congo (2014)

by Anjan Sundaram(Favorite Author)
3.44 of 5 Votes: 4
0385537751 (ISBN13: 9780385537759)
review 1: This isn't a bad book, hence the three stars. But it could have been considerably better.The subject matter drew me to the book. It addresses a question that I've had. In countries long marred by violence and instability, what is daily life like for the average person? In the news we hear about that violence, but we don't hear much about ordinary life (if life in such places can be called ordinary). Stringer discusses the life of regular people in the Congo, the type who are simply trying to survive day to day. Great, I thought, this will be an excellent book.Stringer does contain some good information. It certainly provides some answers to my aforementioned question. But the writing is lacking. It has little impact on a reader. It evokes little emotion. The writing is (od... moredly, given the subject matter) listless and inert. In a way this writing style reflects Sundaram's own seeming feelings of listlessness and inertness while living in the country. But I doubt that he wanted his writing to have those qualities. It was very odd, but I almost felt as if I were being pulled along through a humid fog while reading. I made myself finish the book because of the information it relayed, but after reading a few chapters, I, too, felt listless and inert. I know that sounds odd, but I don't know how else to express it.If you wish to learn more about life in the Congo, then by all means read this book. But if you are simply looking for a good and engaging read, this might not be the book for you.
review 2: First, I found his story as someone who was on a safe track to the 1% and decided to jump into the life of a journalist in an unstable place inspiring. I also applaud his desire to give the world a more balanced picture of what is happening in the Congo, both with the Congolese and the westerners. The people he meets are well drawn and memorable. This book did make me appreciate the access to clean water and food. He has some genuinely well written and interesting insights but it failed to catch fire and I think that is due to some unevenness in pacing or detail. Some scenes ended prematurely or jerked into others and it may have lacked depth in certain places. I know that I often wanted more exploration but that could have been the nature of his trip. He isn't very clear on timeframes or chronology. That said, there are some unforgettable moments, especially toward the end, describing the uncertainty at election time, the interaction with his host family or his river journey. Perhaps it is only in comparison with the works of Kapucinski that the work doesn't seem quite as intense and resonant. less
Reviews (see all)
Bit whiny. Would have rather read more about these events than his constant negative emotions.
Absolutely brilliant debut. Destined to be a classic literary memoir.
I just could not get into this book.
just letting this one go!
both good and bad.
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