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af James A. Houston

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1081196,140 (4.04)7
Om tre hvalfangeres ophold hos et eskimofolk i arktisk Canada i slutningen af 1800-tallet.
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» Se også 7 omtaler

Six-word review: Clash of cultures threatens group's survival.

Extended review:

Baffin Island is a land mass in the Arctic Circle of Canada, between the mainland and Greenland. This forbidding territory is home to the Inuit (Eskimo) people, whose ancient culture has taught them how to thrive in a land of snow and ice. This is the setting of The White Dawn, James Houston's fictionalized account of what happened when members of two profoundly different cultures tried to live together in this extreme environment.

One day in 1896, a small party of Inuit encounter three strangers lost and half dead at the edge of the frozen sea. The men have become separated from their New Bedford whaling vessel, and only their timely discovery by chief Sarkak and his sons saves them from certain death.

Nursed back to health in the Inuit camp, the three outsiders have much to learn of the strong, enduring traditions that enable the people of the far north to survive. But their presence upsets the balance of leadership and cooperation in the camp and thus destabilizes the society. Irreversible changes follow.

This book is so beautifully and convincingly written that I forgot many times that I was reading fiction, and moreover fiction written by someone who was not native to the narrator's culture. I found it deeply moving and in many ways enlightening, as if the experiences had happened close to me.

I read The White Dawn immediately after finishing The Enchanted, an intense, brilliant, disturbing novel (reviewed here) whose main character cherishes The White Dawn as his favorite book. Numerous books have led me to other books, but I think this is the first time I've read one on the recommendation of a fictitious character. Beyond the bare fact of the role that one book plays in the other, the connection between the two is not obvious. Since finishing The White Dawn, I've been pondering the mysterious link that joins them. I think it exists not where mind meets mind but where myth touches soul. ( )
1 stem Meredy | Dec 30, 2014 |
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Om tre hvalfangeres ophold hos et eskimofolk i arktisk Canada i slutningen af 1800-tallet.

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