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The Fair Ophelia (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Ted Conover
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

How do you go from being one of several children of wealthy, celebrity parents to, as Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College has called her, "one of the great human beings walking the earth right now?"

Ophelia Dahl traveled from Buckinghamshire to Haiti in 1983 and fell in love?with the country and with Paul Farmer, a recent graduate of Duke who would become a famous doctor. With others, they founded Partners in Health, the groundbreaking global health organization. Then came the split, new partners, new disaster in Haiti, and a search for solutions that might, in Tracy Kidder's words, "heal the world."

Ophelia, who seldom consents to interviews, is the daughter of author Roald Dahl ("Charlie & The Chocolate Factory," "James and the Giant Peach,") and of Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal ("Hud"). This is a brief story of her family's tragic past and of her own passage to womanhood, motherhood, and meaningful work.

Ted Conover is the author of Newjack, Coyotes, The Routes of Man, and other books. He publishes in The New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker and is a writer-in-residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University. "The Fair Ophelia" is his first Kindle Single.

[cover photo by Ron Haviv/VII]

Editorial Reviews Review

If you haven't heard of Ophelia Dahl, now's the time. Daughter of the beloved Roald Dahl--author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach--Ophelia also manages much of Partners in Health, a global non-profit delivering medical aid and infrastructure to developing countries and a favorite charity of celebrities from Meryl Streep and Matt Damon to Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire. Dahl is notoriously hard to pin down for an interview, but based on the face-time he could muster, Ted Conover's profile imparts an informative glimpse into this admirable, and apparently tireless, bulwark of altruism. Deeply moved by a John Milton sonnet in her early adulthood, Dahl has taken a roguish band of do-gooders--co-founded with doctor and MacArthur "genius" Paul Farmer--and built a worldwide medical assistance network that sets the pace for others of its kind. "We're all in favor of charity," she explains. "We just believe the bar is set very low." Fair, indeed. --Jason Kirk

Product Details

  • File Size: 95 KB
  • Print Length: 14 pages
  • Publisher: Ted Conover (September 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005PB5TQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,293 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Begs For A Full Book October 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In this slim, tantalizing profile "The Fair Ophelia," Ted Conover gives us a glimpse of the woman who is the executive director of "Partners in Health," an unflappable organization that, as Conover puts it, has "challenged the world's public health experts to recalibrate notions of what's affordable or reasonable for the poor, asserting, in so many words, that we can do a whole lot better."

"The Fair Ophelia" begs for a full book. We get Conover's trademark eye for detail--the string between a Haitian child and a kitten's neck, the pink paisley bandana on the head of an anesthetist with a dark mustache. We get Conover's inviting prose, which opens the door to a story in such an easy way that we feel welcomed and placed smack in the scene itself.

These staccato moments are a tease. We learn about Ophelia Dahl's parents--children's book author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal. We get a taste of Ophelia's upbringing and a quick glimpse at the relationship between Ophelia and Paul Farmer, who is PIH's "public face." We get a sense of the cult-like staff that surrounds Ophelia and a sense of how the organization functions but, like how all good journalism, we want more.

Let's hope that's in the works. In the meantime, for $.99 we get a Kindle-only "single" and a taste for the leadership and personal style of this unique figure. I'd gladly pay more for a full "LP."

Ophelia Dahl is out there on the fine line between life and death in the battles over public health in desperate communities around the world where "to be, or not to be" isn't within each individual's personal control. Ophelia Dahl and PIH are saying, it's up to us.

(Yes, Ted Conover is a friend. I stand by every word.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved the piece, it makes me want to know more about her. September 29, 2011
By StVissh
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a focused yet very evocative piece of an intriguing woman. I would definitely like to know more about her and her work.
I also thought the descriptions of life in Haiti were moving without being the usual maudlin stuff.
This was the first Single that I have ever gotten and I think the format is great. I will certainly be checking out more. I hope Conover publishes more (I'm a big fan of his other stuff).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair Ophelia October 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Looking for (and at) Fair Ophelia is an amazing heart-warming experience. Ophelia Dahl, daughter of actress Patricia Neal and literary great Roald Dahl, leaves her affluent privileged world to co-found Partners in Health with MacArthur Fellowship winner Dr. Paul Farmer and others. Dahl spends over 30 years in Haiti "looking agony in the face" as Partners in Health attempts to conquer poverty, disease and natural disasters for this distressed population.
I enjoyed reading Fair Ophelia an look forward to learning more about this amazing woman. I know there is a book lurking in this Kindle Single. From granting financial aid for building homes to dispensing eye drops to clearing the wreckage of the last huricane Dahl and her staff see "a task unlikely to be finished in their future."
Dahl's poetic sense emits a wondrous feeling as she asks herself "how her light is spent."
It's a question I am asking myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening October 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved reading this piece. My first experience with reading on my IPhone and purchasing an e piece. Opened my eyes to what everyone can do to make this a better place. "Do whatever makes your heart sing."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspired to improve global health care September 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a short and somewhat cursory profile of someone who in the telling comes off as a truly remarkable person who has dedicated her rather privileged life to leave the world a better place by improving global health care.

Ophelia Dahl, the daughter of actress Patricia Neal and children's author Roald Dahl, is executive director of Partners in Health, a world health organization founded in 1987 by Dahl and a small group dedicated to international health care efforts. PIH is based in Boston, but most of its work is done in earthquake-devastated Haiti where the need is greatest.

Dahl, on the advice of her father, left boarding school in England in 1983 "to see another side of the world" and traveled to Haiti where she worked in an orphanage for handicapped children. Today she appears to be the administrative muscle at PIH where she is most effective at managing the organization's 12,000 employees and raising money. Her efforts, she says, are inspired by Milton's Sonnet XIX to do with her life what she actually has a gift to do.

I believe I've benefitted from being introduced to Dahl and PIH, and I applaud her efforts and accomplishments in relieving suffering and illness in impoverished parts of the world. But I'm having some difficulty determining exactly what the author is striving for in the essay unless it's simply to build general awareness for Dahl, PIH's humanitarian efforts and to appeal for more humanitarian funding.

Those are good, worthwhile efforts. I was hoping, though, to be engaged a little more in the storytelling. Dahl has been described by the president of Dartmouth "as one of the great human beings walking the earth right now." To me, this Kindle Short suffered for being too short. It seems as if there's a fascinating tale about a remarkable woman that's maybe still waiting to be fully told.
[3.5 stars]
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read April 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked this book. I would like to have been pointed to more sources to learn more about this remarkable woman.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting...but... just made me want to know more about this interesting woman. More about her family, more about how that impacted her, more about exactly what she did in Haiti. Read more
Published 8 months ago by LJCB
4.0 out of 5 stars Short & sweet
I learned a lot about Haiti , but mostly enjoyed the part about her parents & her past. What led her to this altruistic work was her personality & her past.
Published 14 months ago by Dianne
4.0 out of 5 stars the Great Daughter
very good character study. I wish it were longer and more detailed. her life is an example for all children of celebrities.
Published 16 months ago by Kay R. Ernst
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating woman
I enjoyed this read because of Ophelia and who she was as a woman, a friend, and partner. I found her story amazing in so many ordinary ways. Inspiring.
Published 21 months ago by Doris Boyle
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Ophelia
I enjoyed reading about this woman who was so ahead of her time. I recommend this one highly. This could easily be assigned in a woman's study class.
Published 21 months ago by James E. Barnwell
3.0 out of 5 stars okay but not riveting...
Was not very engrossing but, I ordered it expecting something else. Will keep coming back to review again. I expected more from a daughter of such well known parents
Published 23 months ago by carol
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bleeding Edge" Charity
Revealing Partners In Health's practice of accompaniment and their "bleeding edge" medical prowess amidst Haitian hardships, Conover wins my gratitude for his craft. Read more
Published on October 31, 2011 by TK
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Insight
While I had sworn to never give in to any form of e-publishing, I couldn't help but purchase this Kindle single by Ted Conover - by far one of my favorite writers. Read more
Published on October 4, 2011 by Christina Doka
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More About the Author

Ted Conover is the author of several books including The Routes of Man and Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize). He also wrote Coyotes, Whiteout, and Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He lives in New York City.

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