Whiteman | EW.com

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Whiteman In this intensely observed tale, U.S. relief worker Jack Diaz arrives in the coup-ridden Ivory Coast on behalf of Potable Water International. When...WhitemanFiction In this intensely observed tale, U.S. relief worker Jack Diaz arrives in the coup-ridden Ivory Coast on behalf of Potable Water International. When...2006-04-05Harcourt
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Whiteman

Genre: Fiction; Author: Tony D'Souza; Status: In Season; Publisher: Harcourt

In this intensely observed tale, U.S. relief worker Jack Diaz arrives in the coup-ridden Ivory Coast on behalf of Potable Water International. When funding for clean-water programs dries up after 9/11, Diaz is forced to fit in as best he can: farming, hunting, and seducing locals. Tony D’Souza, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer, achieves a delicate balance in creating Jack, a white man (in Africa, even Latinos are white) who is a blatant cliché in his quest for African ”authenticity,” but real enough for you to believe in his mission. Yet, as the chief in Jack’s village puts it after receiving a food shipment that causes a major contretemps, ”We didn’t ask for that gift, or this trouble it has brought.” Like Whiteman itself, the statement is a subtle but damning response to the assumption that Western aid is all-benevolent.

Originally posted April 5 2006 — 12:00 AM EDT

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