A Kayak full of ghosts Eskimo tales

Lawrence Millman

Book - 1987

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 398.20971/Millman Checked In
Santa Barbara, CA : Capra Press 1987.
Physical Description
208 p.
Main Author
Lawrence Millman (-)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In Greenland and Canada's northern territories, folktales center on life's bare necessities: hunting, eating, elimination, reproduction and a Hammurabian justice somewhat tempered by belief in reincarnation. Millman's collectionheard over campfires, on hunting trips, in airports and barsat first seems shockingly violent and crude but eventually reveals the simple beauty of a civilization at one with nature. Some stories are comical, like the one about two men who happily share a wife but fight over their kayak. Others are magical, like the one about the Father of Fish, who sits on a riverbank whittling a stick whose chips turn to fish as they float downstream. And the best rival Aesop's fables, such as the tale about a raven and a seagull, representing the Inuit and the white man, who fight over a piece of meat. (The seagull wins, but by the time he carries off the meat it is rancid.) This is an important work that provides a peek at an endangered civilization. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

If one is convinced that the oral literature of people deserves the most accurate reproduction possible in print, taking into consideration the importance that each culture places on various aspects of the art of narrative, Millman has done the Eskimos a disservice, since he has taken the stories from their original context, provided little background information, and converted their native style to his own. The stories do, however, come through somewhat. A far better collection for both the academic and general reader, if narrower in focus, is Edwin Hall's The Eskimo Storyteller: folktales from Noatak, Alaska (1975). Not recommended. David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.