Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo (Hardcover)
Logan's Staff Pick, July 2014: Written with a style more akin to a seasoned novelist than a budding reporter, Sundaram’s feverish debut describes the year he spent in the Congo after graduating from Yale University in 2005.
With his friends and colleagues left in complete shock, Sundaram decides to abandon his field of abstract mathematics, decline a promising job offer at Goldman Sachs and head to the Congolese capital of Kinshasa with little more than a place to stay and a vague interest in journalism.
Sundaram really hooked me with his lucid style and anyone interested in African history or politics should greatly enjoy this read.— From Logan's Staff Picks
January 2014 Indie Next List
“The tumultuous history of the Congo is fraught with power at its most corrupt, capitalism in its greediest form, and human survival at its most desperate. Sundaram, who lives in Kigali, Rwanda, knew nothing of journalism or the Congo when he traveled there to write about the country and pursue a writing career. This debut is the result of an 18-month occupation during which Sundaram is robbed, contracts malaria, and sees firsthand the undignified crushing of the human soul. This is reportage in its most excellent form -- immediate, informative, and riveting.”
— Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
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.
About the Author
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.
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."
"The author skillfully captures the smallest details of life in a destitute land, blending the sordid history of Congo with his battle to forge a career in a troubled and forsaken country."
“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