D’Souza, Tony*: Whiteman** (2006)
* RPCV Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar 2000-2003
** 2007 Maria Thomas Fiction Award
Discussion: Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at Rose City Yacht Club, 3737 NE Marine Dr in Portland. Participating in our discussion will be Tony D’Souza, the book’s author, via Skype. When you arrive at the gate, call or text Liz Samuels at 503-701-6218, and she will give you the code for the keypad to get in. Depending on how hot it is, we will meet either on deck of the Club House or Liz’s air-conditioned floating home. Feel free to bring snacks to share. Feel free to bring snacks to share.
Review: © Booklist: Jack Diaz is a young American relief worker in a Muslim village in the Ivory Coast, part of an endeavor to bring potable water to the impoverished villagers. As it becomes more and more apparent that he cannot achieve his original goal, he drifts into various projects from hunting to farming to teaching villagers about AIDS prevention to taking up ill–advised love affairs. Tensions between Muslims and Christians mount and add to the layers of cultural and political nuances that Jack struggles to understand. Christened Whiteman by the villagers, who believe him capable of magic by virtue of his white skin, Jack feels his whiteness more than he ever has in his life. As he penetrates the culture–but never achieves complete integration–he discovers a people not as simple and uncomplicated as he had thought. With war threatening to hasten the end of his three-year commitment, Jack’s affection for the region and the people heightens, and he seeks forgiveness for his privilege and ineffectiveness.