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The White Masai

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3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,488 Ratings  ·  487 Reviews
Corinne Hofmann fell in love with a Masai warrior while on holiday in Kenya. After overcoming all sorts of obstacles, she moved into a tiny shack with him and his mother, and spent four years there. Slowly the dream crumbled, and she fled back home with her baby daughter. This is her story.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Arcadia (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katherine Howell
Now - before I started and indeed after reading the first few chapters, this book is making me angry. Angry is maybe not the right word. I just think that she's an ignorant dufus. Who makes a decision to change your life so dramatically (and invade someone else's home) based on deciding you've fallen in love with someone you've just glimpsed?? This happens while she's on holiday, she goes home for 6 months and then comes back to find him (which she does - don't worry, this is all very early on, ...more
Leslie
Jul 24, 2011 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Silly young women
Shelves: bio-memoirs, africa
Now ladies, what have we learned here? When on vacation in a foreign country, don't fall in lust with the noble savage ( right in front of, and in spite of, your current boyfriend). Don't do it. It's not only vulgar but also dangerous. No man is worth dysentary, diptheria and yellow fever. And let's be honest dearie, I doubt even Martha Stewart herself could do much with a cow dung hut. And why have your baby out in the hellish bush with lions and snakes and God-knows-what lurking about when you ...more
Badly Drawn Girl

I struggled with this book. The beginning is so unbelievable that I was left feeling uncomfortable by how shallow this woman was. I find it ironic that she has said in an interview that a lot of people are uncomfortable with the fact that she married and had a baby with a black man. As a mother of two biracial sons, I can guarantee that is not what made me uncomfortable. What made me uncomfortable was her complete lack of regard for the culture she barged her way into. She didn't know the first
...more
Iset

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. I initially picked it up due to my interest in the subject matter; I having a passing interest in anthropology and enjoy reading about other cultures, and have read a couple of books before about the tribes of this region of Africa. 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 Cori
...more
Nancy Schober
Mar 16, 2012 Nancy Schober rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
A Swiss woman is on holiday in Kenya and falls truly, madly deeply in love with a Masai warrior. She goes home sells her business and all her possessions, returns to Kenya to set up housekeeping with the Masai.

I'm sorry but this relationship had no chance. The power difference between the two was so great. Maybe she felt she was in love, and she certainly was. But not with the man but her idealized idea of him. If she had truly loved him she would have never pursued him. Because even an idiot co
...more
Cristina Boncea
Da, prima reacție firească e "de ce ar face o femeie atâtea pentru un bărbat primitiv?". Unu la mână, e mai mult decât evident că autoarea e perfect conștientă de toate comentariile posibile pe această tema and she doesn't give a flying fuck și doi la mână, nu e doar vorba de masaiul ei, Lketinga, ci și de întreaga cultură kenyană. Deși ne este rezumată cam toată cartea pe cele două coperte exterioare, povestea stă cam așa: Corinne lucra în Elveția la un magazin de haine și avea un profit frumuș ...more
Agreenhouse
I found this book while perusing the non-fiction shelf at the East Windsor Branch of the Queens Public Library. I first noticed the word Masai, and thought back to some comments my friend Penny had made after her trip to Kenya where she visited a Masai village. She was shocked at the poor treatment of women. I opened the inside cover and read that the book was an autobiography about a Swiss woman who fell instantly in love with a Masai man and gave up her life in Switzerland to live with the man ...more
Kavita
Apr 15, 2015 Kavita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a Swiss woman who goes to Kenya, falls in love with a Masai warrior, and moves there to live with him, The White Masai is also a story of love, cross-culture marriage, life in an African village, and domestic abuse.

I started off with disliking the author a little. She was extremely mean to her Swiss boyfriend and dumps him unceremoniously for a Masai man. It is also a little weird how she gets obsessed with a man she knows nothing about. Call her silly and obsessive, or naive and in
...more
César Lasso
Mar 12, 2016 César Lasso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not great literature – just a woman’s memoir of her African experience.

Nevertheless, that experience caught my interest. On the one hand, I am very interested in Africa myself, and have a penchant for narratives of intercultural exchange. On the other hand, I admired the author.

I really think Corinne Hofmann made a very big mistake. She fell head over hills in love at first sight with a Samburu warrior. She was 26 at the time. The last time I fell in love at first sight was at 15. At my
...more
Melissa
Apr 17, 2013 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A Swiss woman travels to Africa with her boyfriend for vacation. While there she meets a Masai warrior, decides she’s in love, breaks up with said boyfriend, and pursues a relationship with a man with whom she doesn’t even speak the same language.

I read this for my book club. I only mention that because if it hadn't been for book club then there's no way I would have finished this. The writing is pretty awful, the actual events are infuriating and the end result is not surprising.

I don’t think a
...more
Marcia
Dec 18, 2008 Marcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I loved this book. Especially because it's a true story. This book made me more aware of all the luxury that we have here in The Netherlands. Made me appreciate all the little things that are so "normal" to me, like drinking water from our faucet, a warm bed every night, clothes to ware, healthy food every day......
Everybody should read this book!
Denise
Aug 13, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to read about different cultures
I am a bit conflicted about this book. It does not get four stars because I think the prose is beautiful or profound. This book is essentially the memoir of a Swiss woman who is on holiday in Kenya and 'falls in love' (I'd call it lust) with a Kenyan Masai warrior. The book takes place over approximately 3 years of the author's life, in which she breaks up with her Swiss boyfriend, sells everything she owns (car, apartment, dress shop) in Switzerland to live a very difficult life in Kenya. Her ' ...more
Susie Fox
Oct 11, 2013 Susie Fox rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated it. Only finished it to see if the author grew a brain, but she didn't.
You can't own another person, but she continually refers to her husband as 'my Masai'. If you want to endanger your own life by getting malaria and leaving it untreated, that's your own silly fault, but don't bring a baby into the world if you don't even have basic food and sanitation to care for her.
The whole idea of falling instantly in love with anyone is just silly, and completely ludicrous if that person can't spe
...more
Jolanta25
Dec 12, 2011 Jolanta25 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is often described as an ultimate love story between a White woman and her Masai. As a love story it had very little to offer, but what I found most fascinating about it, is its Cultural context.

It was one of the most engaging anthropological journals I've ever read. From the very first page I just couldn't put it down. It described in details the everyday life of Samburu people occupying the dry lands of Kenya; their odd beliefs, daily struggles for food and water as well as the sign
...more
Edie
Feb 06, 2011 Edie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With all the negative reviews for this book, I felt the need to comment on my thoughts on the book.

I found the reviews were mainly based on people's feelings of the author herself as opposed to the actual book.

While I also didn't agree with everything (if anything?) that the author did, that really has nothing to do with the story itself.

I think it's fair to remember, English is not her first language and I am assuming she wrote it in German and it was then translated? - So there are a few sa
...more
Jo
Oct 26, 2012 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marilyn Maya
Jul 13, 2012 Marilyn Maya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't think I can finish this. The woman is tres out of touch with reality.

I brought this book by mistake to a long appointment and am so angry today. If I have to say one good thing about it to give it one star, the writing isn't bad, but I don't know if that is the translating but I will give it one star for that, Now to the anger part.
The woman is so self centered, so stubborn and so man centered and shallow it made me sick. She falls in love with a man for his looks alone. If you read the w
...more
Janet
Jun 22, 2008 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave up on this book - I didn't find the writing all that good, and the premise of lifelong love at first sight (literally!) seemed a little silly. But the adventure part caught me up - and her travels in the Land Rover were especially interesting.

Living in Hawaii, with its many ethnicities, I could relate to the misunderstandings and the frustrations of dealing with another culture.

While I am still suspect of the whole romance angle (love or just lust?), the adventure story was worth
...more
Louise
Jul 25, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, kenya
She "responded to her inner child." She "made herself vulnerable"... and all the other talk show guru advice. You have to hand it to her... she did it. She married a warrior who couldn't count (numbers, money, etc.) and tried to make it work. She almost died in the process, but kept at it.

I can't get over her spunk! She had ran 3 different businesses in Kenya. There was a ton of red tape, translation problems, unreliable transportation, and her own malaria and difficult pregnancy. Despite these
...more
Nikki
Apr 18, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a friend who recently spent two weeks in Tanzania with the Masai people. It is the true account of a Swiss tourist who, while traveling in Kenya, falls in love with a Masai warrior. She gives up everything and moves to Kenya where she marries him and has a child.

Reading this book was extremely frustrating...it's like the car wreck that you know is going to happen and you wish you could close the book but you just keep reading...of course it doesn't end well--it would
...more
Alexandra
Mar 17, 2013 Alexandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the very few books in my life I didn't finish reading. Every time something went wrong, and believe me about everything turns out to go wrong sooner or later in this story, I started to get annoyed more and more with the author, her overly romantic yet totally unrealistic expectations into one of the most extreme relationship scenarios one can imagine and into which nobody besides herself had pushed her. After managing about half of the book, I gave it to a friend who saw it at my house a ...more
Andrea
Mar 10, 2009 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, memoir, kenya
I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I read this. One feels sympathy for Hofmann, who falls in love with a Masai man she meets while on vacation in Mombasa. But why anyone intelligent enough to write this book would not investigate the culture and circumstances of their "beloved" before selling their business and running off to live in a village where it becomes clear that her physical and emotional health are compromised is not clear to me. Some bottled water and a basic book on Masai culture and ...more
Cat
Jan 28, 2008 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a fascinating story, but the main character is an incredibly selfish person, and that bothered me a lot. Also, the translation is not great, and the writing wasn't spectacular to begin with. But I was compelled to read it quickly, it's a bizarre, intreuging account of a woman who pursues her "love at first sight" to the literal ends of the Earth.
Norah
Nov 27, 2013 Norah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could not finish this book...this woman was so crazy. I've seen western women fall under the Masai spell, and it's not pretty.
Alayne
Apr 28, 2015 Alayne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book incredibly annoying! The author not once used her brains to think through situations and consequences, instead always acting on feelings and impulses. After awhile, as situations occurred which could have been foreseen had a little thought gone into them, I just started to feel depressed. I read it because it had such hype a few years back, and because I love Africa with a passion. It was educational to me as well, because I never would have believed that someone could make lif ...more
Tripfiction
Memoir set in KENYA (“captive of the Masai World”)

A memoir set in Kenya that will evoke a strong response in the reader.

Guaranteed!

That is probably a bit of a daring thing to say, I feel, but it is one of the few books I have read where I have experienced a medley of emotions, and judging by reviews across the internet I am not alone.

Corinne Hofmann from Biel in Switzerland travels to Kenya with her then boyfriend Marco. Within a few hours travelling to Mombasa she has spotted Lketinga, a Masai
...more
Judy
May 21, 2010 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, even though while reading it I'm thinking, "What are YOU (the author) thinking?" - as she pursues marriage with someone from a completely different culture and whose language she doesn't speak, all based on the fact she's smitten with his looks. Well, I suppose that's where it all starts, the physical attraction. I appreciated learning about what it must be like to take up residence in the bush, with a hut made of cow dung, diseases lurking, water that has to be fetched, no ...more
Liralen
In a way I think this book's strength and its weakness are one and the same: there's no analysis. It's all in the present tense, written as though she had not had ten years between her time in Kenya and the book's publication in which to reflect and draw new conclusions. It's a strength because the reader is able to experience things (sort of) as she did, without outside clutter; it's a weakness because, well, there's a lot that could have used further explanation.

To some degree I admire the aut
...more
Frances
Jul 15, 2012 Frances rated it it was ok
I bought The White Masai in the Nairobi airport hoping to find out a little more about the daily life of the Masai people. Turns out that I knew more about the Masai from one college anthropology class than the author did before deciding to move from Switzerland to Kenya and marry a Masai man. (Really not Masai but Samburu, a related group.) It boggles the mind how one could decide to get married without knowing such crucial pieces of information such as whether her intended loves her back, that ...more
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