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An African in Greenland (New York Review Books Classics)

by Tete-michel Kpomassie, James Kirkup, A. Alvarez

Buy the book: Tete-michel Kpomassie. An African in Greenland (New York Review Books Classics)

Release Date: 09 November, 2001

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Tete-michel Kpomassie. An African in Greenland (New York Review Books Classics)

From Togo to Thule (almost)--a fine book by a good writer

When author Kpomassie was a teenager in his native Togo in the '50s, he nearly died in a fall, and was pledged by his father to become a priest of the python cult that cured him. While looking for a way around this future, he happened upon a book about Greenland and became obsessed with the idea of moving there and becoming a hunter. Over the course of several years, Kpomassie worked his way across West Africa and Europe before arriving in Greenland in the early '60s. He was possibly the first African to visit Greenland, and was the first black person most of the Greenlanders had ever seen. He became a minor celebrity ("I've heard about you on the radio since you arrived in the south"), as the locals, particularly children and young women, swarmed around the exotic stranger. As he made his way up the coast of west Greenland, he stopped in several towns, where he was invariably taken into someone's home as a guest and treated to fine delicacies like seal blubber and mattak (beluga whale skin).

Kpomassie is an excellent observer, and this book is as good an introduction to Greenlandic culture as Gretel Ehrlich's "This Cold Heaven". Kpomassie is a much more straightforward writer than Ehrlich, and this book therefore makes an easier read. The reader gets to learn about two exotic cultures: Kpomassie's tales of his upbringing in the Mina tribe of Togo is as interesting as his travels in Greenland.

(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)



Kpomassie refreshingly reveals without a trace of romanticisme the widly different world of the Inuits. From espisodes of intense companionship to loneliness, exhalation and revultion, our African traveler describes a frigid landscape populated with a very colorful culture and personalities. Extreemly engaging Tbetbe-Michel Kpomassie's courageous personality charms us and the world he describes.


Nizhniy Novgorod

© FAB Russia, 2003-2005

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