Out this month from the University of Chicago Press is Paul Stoller’s book Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World. The text traces the author’s friendship with a Songhay trader from Niger named Yaya Harouna: a man who moved to the United States as Stoller, an anthropologist, had likewise made a journey from the USA to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. Their story begins whenever Stoller meets Yaya selling artwork in an African market in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where Stoller carried out research.
Although the men’s histories are markedly different, they become close after the two are each diagnosed with cancer: this serves as the heart of Yaya’s Story, and the experience upon which the two men’s culturally divergent, yet not entirely dissimilar, narratives cross paths. With extensive publications in the genres of both ethnography and memoir, Stoller is certain to blend keen anthropological insight with deeply personal accounts of human suffering, endurance, and resilience in the face of illness across cultures in his latest book.
Stoller, Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University, is a 1994 winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Anders Retzius Gold Medal in Anthropology from the King of Sweden.
You can find out more about the book here, at the UC Press website: