I enjoyed Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk's sketches of life in Arctic Quebec in the years and months before the first white men come to stay for good. The book also confounded me a little. Is it comedy? Tragedy? I have no way of knowing.
Obviously a great way to get to know a place is to read about the lives of people who live there. Strange how difficult this still is.
This seriously good book had me in its grasp from start to finish, until I learned some troublesome facts that made me question part of its power.
God help the animal rights activist who steps into an elevator with Alan Herscovici.
These stories, told in cinematic detail (almost all of them would make amazing graphic novels) feature battles, war, shape-shifters, heroes and heroines and voyages to the spirit world.
“I enjoyed myself tremendously,” writes Canadian poet Al Purdy of his trip to Baffin Island. “None of the travel books about the north gave me a specific sense of place, being more concerned with fact and not impression, size and not colour, information and not feeling.”
I bow to anyone who lives in a city the size of Nuuk (17,000) and writes a book that is this honest and sex-fuelled.