Tony D’Souza spent several years working for the Peace Corps in Ivory Coast, and Whiteman is a book based on his time there. Billed as a novel, it reads more like a collection of autobiographical short stories and is closely based on the author’s experience. The narrator, Jack Diaz, is a young American working for the fictional Potable Water Institute. Jack, prevented from establishing a water supply by lack of funding, instead teaches the villagers about Aids, which was D’Souza’s principal duty as a Peace Corps volunteer.
He has an elegant descriptive style, which he uses deftly to paint a complete and authentic picture of Ivory Coast. The stories jump in time, taking in everything from the squalor of the cities to the brutal romanticism of rural life, from too-young soldiers to flirtatious tribeswomen. The book’s variegated,