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Monday, April 09, 2007

The White Masai

I just finished The White Masai by Corinne Hoffman, and the book has left me flummoxed. Speechless. Weirded out. Imagine standing on a street corner in Mombasa and seeing a Masai warrior and dumping everything in your life to be with him. Someone you don't know. Someone who you can't even speak to. To go live out in the bush in a completely foreign culture. Imagine the times you've been in the grip of an obsession with a person, but instead of shaking it off or letting it pass, you followed it. Here's a woman who really mixed up lust and obsession with love.

The book gives intimate glimpses into Masai culture, but it also reveals this thing European women do all over the world on vacation. Most have short flings with the indigenous locals. But some? Some stay. When I lived in Otavalo, Ecuador, I can think of a Dutch woman, a French woman, and others who had married indigenous men. I understood it to one extent. Men from Otavalo look really fine. Once I was having lunch with a friend and her fork clattered to her plate. "Did you see that guy who just walked by?" she asked. "Yep, honey, get used to it. They all look like that."

She certainly has a story to tell, but in the end, I didn't like either of them. Her because her decisions didn't seem very smart, and "her Masai" because he turned into a scary jealous man. Blah, blah followed her heart. Right into the dung hut.

12 Comments:

Blogger jen said...

i am ordering this book tonight.

11:18 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I cannot imagine it. And because if that, i too will be reading this book very very soon. Thanks.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

I can't imagine it, either. I'm far too cynical for a story like that. I'll take your word for it and take a pass. :)


Peace,

~Chani

11:37 PM  
Blogger QT said...

Wow, I can't imagine that either! Considering the stack of books I am working on now, I might have to pass as well.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Popeye said...

So, I suppose this would be different from simply falling in love with a series of women on the train who just happen to look really good in boots. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

6:23 AM  
Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

Hmmm, I'm ordering this book right away. And giving it to my ex-wife!
:)

7:26 AM  
Blogger Citymouse said...

i can see it all... and i could tell it would not ususally come to a good end

8:59 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I had no idea this was a 'thing' women did. I too am interested in reading this book. Having taken on a different culture just in North America and had some measure of difficulty with it, I can't even imagine doing that in such a vastly different country.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

Just further proof that obsession with something or someone NEVER ends well. (And I hardly ever use the word "never.")

1:09 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

People really do that? Huh. Crazy. Maybe it's the only perfect way to escape... Put your life entirely into a stranger's hands.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I flipped through that book at a bookstore a couple of times - intriqued, but not quite enough to buy the book. There was something too strange about it that I couldn't connect with enough to really want to take the time to read it. I was most curious to learn whether she stuck with it or not, and when I found that she is now living in Europe with her daughter, that was enough information for me.

I work with a couple of women who married indigenous men, but in both cases, they brought them back to Canada. One worked out, one didn't.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

I looked the book up on Amazon, just curious to read a bit more about it.

It seems absurd on the surface that someone would marry a man she barely knew, couldn't communicate with and knew nothing about the culture. It seems equally odd that he would do it.

It sounds like dilettantism. Shirley Valentine.

I dunno... I'll probably end up reading it if a copy comes my way. I'm just curious enough to check it out.


Peace,

~Chani

3:22 PM  

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