Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The White Masai” as Want to Read:
The White Masai
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The White Masai

(The White Masai #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  7,471 ratings  ·  704 reviews
The four-million-copy international bestseller of the incredible love story between a European woman and an African warrior.

The White Masai combines adventure and the pursuit of passion in a page-turning story of two star-crossed lovers from vastly different backgrounds. Corinne, a European entrepreneur, meets Lketinga, a Samburu warrior, while on vacation in Mombasa on Ke
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Amistad (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Memoirs by Women
2,617 books — 2,800 voters
Out of Africa by Isak DinesenWest with the Night by Beryl MarkhamThe Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth HuxleyThe Constant Gardener by John le CarréBorn Free by Joy Adamson
Books Set in Kenya
172 books — 97 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,471 ratings  ·  704 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The White Masai
Petra-X would like a non-smear lippy for my mask
Swiss woman falls in love with a stunningly beautiful Masai man. Sometimes they sell souvenirs to tourists and eat in cafes in the city. Sometimes they live in his mother's dark round mud, cow shit and straw hut and eat raw meat and drink blood drained from a living cow.

In the hut, away from the town, she finds out that sexual manners for Masai are that she lies there absolutely still and shows no passion just as if she had her clitoris cut off and labia sewn up like the real Masai women. Perha
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
Badly Drawn Girl
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok

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
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nancy Schober
May 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Susie Fox
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
César Lasso
Aug 30, 2014 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
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Marilyn Maya
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 translation, but I will give it one star for that, Now to the anger part.
The woman, Corinne Hoffman 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.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I believe this book is only a "somewhat good read" if you've been to Kenya, or if you are interested in the country and the Masai. The book itself isn't that great and I only really enjoyed the parts of the book that were about the country, the language and the vibe there, since I was reading the book while I was in Kenya.

A longer review can be found at Bite Into Books

I'm so curious about other opinions on this book, or if you are willing to give it a try what you'll think afterward. I just love
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kenya, biography
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
Apr 28, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Apr 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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'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
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't completely sympathetic with the heroine however her writing gave me a vivid picture of life in Africa. The juncture of first and third world is always jarring and this marriage gives the subject a new dimension. ...more
I won't speak to the personality, character, or -perhaps- mental health of the author in this review. I believe memoirs should be rated based on how they engage the reader and how well they are written.

On both counts, I think this book is a solid four.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Autobiographies and memoirs were once my favourite genre. Not so now however this one is outstanding. Easy reading and very descriptive of a different culture and different 'norms' as is to be expected. There has been a fair amount of critical comment on a person taking these somewhat obvious risks. Who amongst us though has not done something risky and illogical for love. ...more
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
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Green City in the Sun
  • Desert Flower
  • Zurück aus Afrika.
  • 438 dagar
  • Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two Worlds
  • I Dreamed of Africa
  • Mamma, pappa, barn (Hammarbyserien, #2)
  • Pădurea
  • Точка на враќање
  • Der Himmel über Darjeeling
  • Zout op mijn huid
  • Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya
  • El Libro del Ego: Liberarse de la Ilusion
  • Pornography: Men Possessing Women
  • Tallowood Bound
  • Sold
  • Kryminalista
  • Inspektor Takeda und die Toten von Altona (Inspektor Takeda ermittelt, #1)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

The White Masai (4 books)
  • Back from Africa
  • Reunion in Barsaloi
  • Africa, dragostea mea

News & Interviews

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
193 likes · 67 comments
“I climb behind the steering wheel... I drive off immediately without once looking back; it's a long journey but it leads to freedom.” 3 likes
“From that day on I go to each door in turn and sing the three songs that I remember from school. Within a few days I'm overwhelmed how happy they appear to be when they hear or recognize me.” 0 likes
More quotes…