Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts; Cange, Mirebalais, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Lima, Peru; Tomsk, Siberia, Russia; Paris, France from 1982 through 2003.



Paul Farmer
Obviously the heart of the book, Farmer is an amazing individual whose shoes can be filled, but who can never be imitated. He has devoted his life to what he calls the long defeat. The odds of Haiti ever completely changing from a poor country are astronomical, but Farmer believes he must try to win.

Tracy Kidder
He is the author of the book, but ever-present in it. He documents all the experiences he has with Paul Farmer from 1994 through 2003 while researching the other years of his work in Haiti and around the world.

Ophelia Dahl
The daughter of the actress Patricia Neal and the writer Roald Dahl, Ophelia is a great success in her own right. She begins to work with Paul in Haiti, falls in love with him, and then continues her work with him as his great and abiding friend. She is the one who makes the managerial side of Partners In Health work.

Jim Yong Kim
A Korean-American doctor, he becomes entranced by the work Paul is doing in Haiti. He works alongside him for several years and then begins his own clinics to try to control the TB epidemic in Peru. He comes to like the political side of world health care and eventually becomes the senior advisor to the director of the World Health Organization in 2003.


Didi Bertrand
She is Farmer's wife and mother of his daughter Catherine. She lives in Paris and studies for own degree and bears up under the disadvantage of having a husband whom she seldom sees.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
He is the former priest who became the president of Haiti. He is admired by Farmer and is his friend. His intentions are to pull Haiti out of poverty.

Jorge Pérez
He is the Cuban doctor who is head of the health services there. Farmer sees him and his program as a great model for how health care can be made available even for the poor.

His foundation helps obtain money for the Russian anti-TB program.

He is the little boy who dies even though the doctors and care givers at Zanmi Lasante do everything they can to get him to Boston in time for treatment that may save his life. He is a symbol of all the poor in Haiti who usually never have a chance, because of the poverty which hold them in its grip.

Ti Fifi
She is one Farmer's oldest and dearest friends and an administrative assistant in Haiti. She works very hard with Serena to get John to the United States.

Ti Jean
He is Paul's chief of staff, his closest male confidant in Haiti. He seems to understand just exactly what makes Farmer tick.

He is the little boy whom Farmer cures of scrofula and whose home situation prompts Farmer to make one of his long treks to care for patients on an individual basis, a characteristic that sets Farmer above all other doctors.

Fritz Lafontant
He is the priest who is working in Haiti when Farmer first arrives. He continues to do all he can to help establish clinics, build schools, and improve the living conditions of the poor.

Tom White
He is the multi-millionaire who nearly gives away all of his money helping Paul in Haiti.

Father Jack Roussin
He is the priest who convinces Farmer to expand PIH into Peru and later dies of the very TB he was trying to wipe out.

Jaime Bayona
He is the Peruvian doctor who acts as a go-between for Farmer and Jim Kim in Peru.

Howard Hiatt
He is one of the men who wants to expand better health care globally and tries to convince Farmer to become a bureaucrat to do that until he see him in action in Haiti.

Alex Goldfarb
He is the Russian who convinces Farmer to help set up his model in Cange in Siberia to begin to control the epidemic of TB in Russia. His politics and his mouth often get him in trouble, but his heart's in the right place.

Serena Keonig
She is the doctor who almost single-handedly brings young John to Boston for help even though he eventually dies. She is the perfect example of O for the P - finding options for the poor.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone". TheBestNotes.com.