The White Masai

The White Masai

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by Corinne Hofmann

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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


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 Kenya's glamorous coast.Despite language and cultural barriers, they embark on an impossible love affair. Corinne uproots her life to move to Africa—not the romantic Africa of popular culture, but the Africa of the Masai, in the middle of the isolated bush, where five-foot-tall huts made from cow dung serve as homes. Undaunted by wild animals, hunger, and bouts with tropical diseases, she tries to forge a life with Lketinga. But slowly the dream starts to crumble when she can no longer ignore the chasm between their two vastly different cultures.

A story that taps into our universal belief in the power of love, The White Masai is at once a hopelessly romantic love story, a gripping adventure yarn, and a compulsively good read.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One glance at a Masai warrior "wearing almost no clothes-just a short loincloth-but lots of jewelry," and Hofmann, a Swiss business woman on vacation in Kenya, abandons all in obsessive pursuit of Lketinga who has "never been to school, can't read or write and barely speaks English." The passion is palpable and sometimes purple ("I feel myself at one with this man and now, this night, I know that despite all the barriers between us, I have already become a captive of his world"). Seekers of romance and adventure will be amply rewarded, but the power of Hofmann's memoir rests in her hard-won capacity to take the reader inside the domestic world of the African bush as she learns to be Lketinga's wife (living in her own dung hut), grappling with unfamiliar sexual and gender manners and struggling to balance her commitment to bush life with the knowledge and resources she has as a European woman (acquiring a car, starting a business). The idyll, spoiled by Lketinga's bouts of jealous fits, ends after four years when Hofmann, with their daughter, flees to Switzerland. Hofmann's commitment, however, lingers and infuses her account with an affecting richness that defies the reader to ridicule her decision to give "up [her] whole life back in Switzerland for Lketinga." (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
While vacationing in Kenya, Hofmann spotted the man of her dreams: a tall and beautiful Masai warrior with red-dyed hair, wearing only a loincloth and jewelry. Unable to get him out of her mind, she found him again: his name was Lketinga, and they connected despite language and cultural barriers. Hofmann rapidly sold her business in Germany and moved to Kenya to be with him, eventually moving into his family's hut. She remained there for four years, marrying Lketinga, giving birth to a daughter, and suffering both life-threatening illness and many cultural misunderstandings. This is her emotionally spare retelling of the course of their relationship. Hofmann comes across as both na ve and uncompromising, often surprised at her husband's expectations; for example, he was threatened by and jealous of her interactions with others. Originally written in German, Hoffman's memoir has sold four million copies internationally and spurred two sequels. This absorbing and interesting read, with its clear descriptions of Masai daily life, is recommended for larger public libraries.-Alison Hopkins, Northwest Territories P.L. Svcs., Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two wildly different cultures collide in this internationally bestselling story of a successful Swiss businesswoman who falls for a Masai warrior. Hofmann begins with details of a vacation trip to Kenya with her then-boyfriend. Three days after they arrived, she spotted Lketinga: "A tall, dark brown beautiful man . . . more beautiful than anyone I've ever seen." Back in Switzerland, Hofmann dispensed with her boyfriend, sold her clothing store and traveled back to Africa to take up a passionate relationship with Lketinga. Her prose is snappy and pointed; sentences are kept brief throughout, chapters often ending after just two or three pages. Although this clipped style can occasionally be distracting, Hofmann's description of life in the bush with Lketinga is fascinating. The conditions in which she lived were completely alien to her, sometimes potentially life-threatening; the narrative unravels at breakneck speed in a series of visceral, pulse-racing adventures. The lovers married and struggled constantly in their attempts to understand each other. They ultimately had a child, but that seemed to drive an even greater cultural wedge between them. Hofmann shapes this linear story like a fiction narrative, complete with a "plot" containing generous lashings of romance and drama. (A German-language film adaptation premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year.) In the end, it comes off as a cross between a wildly imagined novel and a confessional diary. Unusual and highly addictive entertainment, although more cynical readers may wonder whether the author exaggerated certain events for dramatic effect.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.54(w) x 0.85(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

The White Masai

By Corinne Hofmann

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Corinne Hofmann
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061131520

Chapter One


Wonderful warm tropical air embraces us the minute we land at Mombasa Airport, and already I feel in my bones that this is my country: I'm going to be at home here. The extraordinary atmosphere works its magic only on me, however. My boyfriend Marco's comment is more succinct: "This place stinks!"

After customs control a safari bus takes us to our hotel. Mombasa is on a peninsula, and we have to take a ferry across a river to the southern bank. It's hot. We sit in the bus, gawking. Right now I have no idea that in three days' time this ferry will change my entire life, turn it upside down.

On the other side of the river we drive for another hour along rural roads through little settlements. Most women sitting outside their simple huts seem to be Muslims, wrapped up in black robes. At long last we reach our hotel, the Africana Sea Lodge. It's a modern but traditional African-style development, our accommodation a little round house, cute and cozy. Our first visit to the beach only amplifies my overwhelming impression: this is the most beautiful country I have ever visited. I could live here.

Two days later we've settled in and are ready to set off on the public bus to Mombasa, taking the Likoni ferry over for a spot of sightseeing. A Rasta runs past us, and I hear the whispered words: "Hashish, marijuana." Marco nodsand says in English: "Yes, yes, where we can make a deal?" After a quick conversation we're supposed to follow him. "Leave it, Marco, it's too dangerous!" I say, but he pays no attention. When we find ourselves in a deserted, dilapidated district, I want to call it off, but the man tells us to wait for him and disappears. I'm uneasy, and eventually Marco agrees we should go. We get out just in time before the Rasta turns up with a policeman. I'm furious and lose it with Marco: "Now do you see what might have happened?"

By now it's late afternoon, time to go home. But which way is home? I have no idea how to get to the ferry, and Marco is no better. Our first big disagreement, and it takes forever until we eventually catch a glimpse of the ferry. Hundreds of people with crates and chickens and crammed-full cardboard boxes are packed between lines of waiting cars. And all of them want to board the two-story ferry.

At long last we get on board, and then the unimaginable happens. Marco says, "Corinne, look, over there, on the other side, that's a Masai!" "Where?" I ask, and look where he's pointing. And then it's as if I've been struck by lightning. A tall, dark brown, beautiful man lounging on the quayside looking at us, the only white people in this throng, with dark eyes. My God, he's beautiful, more beautiful than anyone I've ever seen.

He is wearing almost no clothes--just a short red loincloth--but lots of jewelry. On his forehead is a large mother-of-pearl button with lots of little bright pearls, the whole thing glittering. His long red hair has been braided into thin braids, and his face is painted with symbols that extend right down onto his chest beneath two long necklaces of colored pearls. On each wrist he wears several bracelets. His face is so elegantly proportioned that it could almost be that of a woman. But the way he holds himself, the proud look and wiry muscular build betray his undoubted masculinity. I can't take my eyes off him; sitting there in the last rays of the sinking sun, he looks like a young god.

Five minutes from now, I think to myself, suddenly depressed, You'll never see him again. The ferry will dock and chaos will break loose, people piling off onto buses and disappearing in every conceivable direction. All of a sudden my heart feels like lead, and I find it hard to breathe. And next to me Marco, of all things, says: "We ought to watch out for that Masai, they steal from tourists." Right now I couldn't care less, all that's running through my mind is how I can make contact with this breathtakingly beautiful man. I don't speak any English, and just staring at him isn't going to get me anywhere.

The gangplank drops, and everybody starts squeezing between the cars already starting to drive off. All I can see of the Masai is his glistening back as he lithely vanishes amid the mass of ponderous heaving humanity. It's over, I think, on the brink of tears. Why I feel like that, I have no idea.

Once again terra firma is beneath our feet, and we push our way toward the buses. It's already dusk; in Kenya darkness falls within half an hour. In next to no time all the buses are jam-packed with people and parcels. We're standing there, clueless. Sure, we know the name of our hotel, but not which beach it is on. I prod Marco impatiently: "Go on, ask somebody! "Why don't I do it, he says, even though I've never been to Kenya before and don't speak English. I'm unhappy; my thoughts are with the Masai who has somehow lodged himself in my head.

In total darkness we stand there and argue. All the buses have gone, and then from behind us a deep voice says, "Hello!" We turn around simultaneously, and my heart skips a beat: it's "my" Masai! A full head taller than me, even though I'm almost six feet. He's looking at us and speaking a language that neither of us understands. My heart is palpitating, and I've gone weak at the knees. Marco meanwhile is trying to explain where we want to get to. "No problem," says the Masai, and he tells us to wait. For the next half hour I simply look at this beautiful human being. He hardly notices me, but Marco is getting annoyed: "What's got into you?" he wants to know. "I'm embarrassed the way you're staring so fixedly at this man. Pull yourself together, you're not yourself." The Masai stands beside us and doesn't say a word. I only know he's there by the silhouette of his long body and his smell, which is giving me an erotic charge.


Excerpted from The White Masai by Corinne Hofmann Copyright © 2006 by Corinne Hofmann. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Corinne Hofmann has written three books based on her life story, including two sequels to The White Masai—Back from Africa, which is a bestseller in Germany, and Reunion in Barsaloi, which was released in 2005. She lives with her teenage daughter in Switzerland.

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White Masai: My Exotic Tale of Love and Adventure 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LovesPrint More than 1 year ago
I am giving this book 1 star because it does not accept zero stars. This is one of the worst books I have ever read. The author is so incredibly pathetic as to be infuriating. Maybe she was trying to make the protagonist infuriatingly stupid and inept in order to garner reader interest - whatever it is, the book was hardly believable because the whole time, I could not understand what she was still doing there, living in this piece of *** mud hut with a good-for-nothing loser who entertained delusions of grandeur whilst smoking himself into a stupor. What a loser. I picked it up out of a box of free books in front of my local public library, so at least I did not pay money to read this book. I do not recommend paying money for this book. If you must read about the Masai, see if you can find it for free somewhere.