A Reporter's Journey in the Congo
By Anjan Sundaram
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385537759, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
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In the powerful travel-writing tradition of Ryszard Kapuscinski and V.S. Naipaul, a haunting memoir of a dangerous and disorienting year of self-discovery in one of the world's unhappiest countries.
ANJAN SUNDARAM is an award-winning journalist who has reported from Africa and the Middle East for The New York Times and the Associated Press. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Fortune, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, The Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, and the Huffington Post. He has been interviewed by the BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale for his analysis of the conflict in Congo. He received a Reuters journalism award in 2006 for his reporting on Pygmy tribes in Congo's rain forest. He currently lives in Kigali, Rwanda, with his wife.
Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book, Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there. More at NPR.org
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Praise for Stringer:
"This is a book about a young journalist's coming of age, and a wonderful book it is, too."
"Books by journalists usually keep the focus outward, but Sundaram has more of a novelist's interior sensibility and a talent for describing anxiety and ennui. Readers may be tempted to compare him to Conrad and Naipaul, but he has a strong, unique style all his own."
"Excerpts from his notebooks chronicle personal reflections as he struggles to learn how to report from an unruly land, harboring doubts and misgivings and a feverish desperation to make sense of one of the deadliest places in the world. [It's] a breathtaking look at a troubled nation exploited by greedy forces within and without."
“Anjan Sundaram’s prose is so luscious, whether he’s writing about mathematics or colonial architecture or getting mugged, that the words come alive and practically dance on the page. Stringer, his first book, about a year-long journey to Congo; reading it made me feel like I’d follow him anywhere in the world.”
—Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood
“What a debut! It's not often one reads a book of reportage from a difficult foreign country with such fever-dream immediacy, such tense intelligence, and such an artful gift for story-telling. Here is a commanding new writer who comes to us with the honesty, the intensity, and the discerning curiosity of the young Naipaul.”
—Pico Iyer, author of The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, and The Man Within My Head
“In lucid and searing prose, and with bracing self-awareness, Anjan Sundaram explores a country that has long been victimized by the ever-renewed greeds of the modern world. Stringer is one of those very rare books of journalism that transcend their genre—and destiny as ephemera—and become literature.”
—Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire and Temptations of the West
“Stringer is an extraordinary work of reportage. Anjan Sundaram is the Indian successor to Kapuscinski.”
—Basharat Peer, author of Curfewed Night
"A fascinating, breathtaking work of reporting and introspection from a writer whose next work will be eagerly awaited.”
—Time Out Mumbai