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The White Masai
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on 11 June 2017
I personally enjoyed the book. It gives a fascinating insight to the life of the Sambaru tribe & the Masai warriors. I appreciate that it is hard to comprehend how an intelligent white woman from Switzerland would want to get involved with someone that has a completely basic, difficult & mundane lifestyle. I guess Love moves in mysterious ways & she could not imagine life without this Masai warrior. I have to give her credit for enduring the difficulties of this lifestyle & her reason for returning to Switzerland was purely because she was accused of committing infidelities & she couldn't cope with his extreme jealousies. This book and her subsequent books are all very well-written considering her first language is not English.
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on 13 February 2015
I initially picked this book up due to an interest in reading about other cultures. This seemed like just the thing; someone with knowledge of both western and Masai culture telling the ultimate tale of becoming immersed in another culture for life. Except it wasn’t.

I became concerned early on when Corinne recounts how, on holiday in Kenya with her boyfriend, she is immediately struck by the good looks of a Masai warrior. From that moment she feels compelled to engineer meetings, pursue him wherever he goes, and tell her boyfriend in no uncertain terms that it’s over. Her boyfriend thinks she’s not acting like herself, and I have to say I agreed with him. She bullies him into going places where she thinks she might by chance encounter “my Masai” again, and treats him with very little regard, and by the end of the holiday decides that she’s going to sell her life in Switzerland to come and live and be with Lketinga. This despite them not sharing a language at all, and the author herself admitting “I have no idea if I’m even remotely attractive to him.”

To be honest I kept reading out of morbid curiosity. The author makes it out to be some sort of epic love she feels for this man, but it’s not, it’s just lust – her dreamy musings about him revolve around his appearance, there’s nothing deeper she knows about him that she can point to as a reason for love. During the months back in Switzerland whilst she sorts out selling everything she owns, she claims to “get hold of everything I can find about the country” but it seems doubtful that she did thorough research given the deep misunderstandings she later makes about Lketinga and the customs of his people, and for some reason she spends the time learning English instead of the Samburu language, or even Swahili. She gets nervous as her departure date gets closer, but talks herself out of her doubts with this horrifying line: “And then my resolve steels itself again, and I am as convinced as ever that this man is all I need to be happy.”

I expected the author to have spent a considerable amount of time living with and volunteering to work with the tribe before meeting a man and a relationship developing, having a good understanding of the culture and at least a passable smattering of the language. I definitely did not expect this. The author approaches the relationship in the worst possible way, mistaking lust for love, plunging in without finding out about the life, the culture, or indeed the man himself, and sacrificing everything for this man she barely knows whilst convincing herself that her happiness depends entirely upon him. I have to say the author was breathtakingly foolish. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well. I must admit I found it difficult to sympathise especially when the author so recklessly and obsessively pursued this man whilst hardly bothering at all to get to know the other people in the community or to learn more of the language and the culture of these people.

Of the writing style, the best I can say is that it is competent and functional. It lacks creative flair, and didn’t grip me, but it’s passable. It felt tedious at times simply due to the repetitive grinding toil that author recounts week on week; I lost count of the number of journeys she had to make in her car to the nearest village to get supplies during which the car broke down yet again. And yet, I have to admit, I did finish the book cover to cover, due to this sense of morbid fascination with the disaster unfolding.
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on 27 January 2015
What a very silly woman. I read the whole book although I was soon tired of it. The only interesting parts of the book were when we were allowed insights into tribal life but the constant, nagging voice which could only shout, "What on earth did she think she was doing?!" was such a distraction that even this could make no real impact. I see there are sequels to the book but the writer's style would be too off-putting and, after all, the only interesting part of the author's life is her out of the ordinary foray into a world in which she did not belong. Also, please someone, tell the author that the constant use of the phrase. "My darling", is rather grating to the English reader.
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on 2 June 2016
Having been born in Kenya, I was interested to read this book. I found Corinnes's description of living with the Masai very descriptive and informative and I certainly learnt a lot. However, I didn't think it was very well written, but this could be because it was translated. Some things didn't quite add up, such as how she initially communicated with the Masai and other Kenyans when she admits she doesn't speak any English, Swahili or Maa. Many Masai men are extremely attractive, but is it really possible to fall in love at first sight with someone you can't communicate with?
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on 26 January 2016
She is so naive and incredibly stupid to do what she did. It is quite frustrating to see that she always seems to have someone else to get her out of the scrapes she gets into. The author appears to have no idea of forward thinking although we are told that she ran a business in Switzerland yet everything goes out of the window when she sees one lone Masai man!
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on 4 March 2014
find it hard to believe a white Swiss woman could ever believe she could live amongst an African bush Tribe. The cultures are so different. And yet here is a woman so defiant by nature committed to a love for a man she feels is so absolutely real!
Falling for a Masai at love at first sight, while on Holiday in Mombasa, Kenya with her Swiss Boyfriend, Corrine Hoffman gives up her life as a successful business woman in a privileged culture to live among the Masai and her new love's remote Village Barsaloi in her 'beloved Kenya'. Despite the suffering, the continued bouts of life threatening illness, the loneliness, isolation and heartache she stoically stays committed to this Masai Man 'her darling', who she later marries. She even goes on to bare him a child in what appears to be a very unhealthy relationship, and all for what? She tries to make a success of her life there by opening a much needed shop with basic food and other supplies in Barsaloi, buys a invaluable commodity & necessary transport in the form a 4 wheel drive that ends up bringing no end of trouble, and repeatedly has to face horrible false accusations from her husband of her being adulterous that eventually drive the couple apart. With nothing to live for but their daughter Napirai, she barely escapes for dear life, daughter in her tow, on a said holiday to Switzerland never to return again.
While Corrine shows immense courage in foreign Africa despite great hardship and extreme living conditions, one wonders if she is too blinded and stubborn to see how her faithful love to a man does not appear to reciprocated, and how this indeed is causing her more suffering and sickness than one human should ever endure. One does question in the end if this hard headed pained & jealous man was actually capable of such love for his wife 'The White Masai' ?
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on 12 February 2013
Corinne makes some choices which I just don't understand. I found her obsession with Masai quite frustrating and perhaps if she took more time to understand culture before running in blind and trying "Europeanise" people to her way of understanding then many predicaments could have been avoided.
Ii am curious of the next 2 books but won't be reading them, as an ex resident of Tanzania I found parts of this story insulting and painting a wrong picture of aspects of people and things that I grew to love.
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on 3 May 2016
Yes as others have said I wanted to shout and scream at Corinne for being such an idiot sometimes but she did her best in the circumstances. I enjoyed the book because it was an insight into Kenyan village life and Masai customs and culture but also I was totally intrigued with the whole journey and outcome. If you've been to Kenya ( I have actually been to Mombassa and Diani beach which are heavily referenced) it's good to immerse yourself and be transported back there.
It's the first book in a while I couldn't put down and I had no issues whatsoever with the prose or language as others have.
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on 18 June 2017
What courage and determination. She followed her heart but in the end had to do what was best for her and her daughter. What as great read. It gives more insight into how cultures are different.
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on 5 October 2017
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