The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap. - Novalis

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kabloona

Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins, and Lewis Galantière. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941.

It's finally really winter at our house. Snow and temperatures in the 'teens (F) and maybe near zero tonight. Have to break up the animal's water morning & night - horse's, chicken's, and goat's. Which reminds me of this really remarkable book. A tale of the real cold and the far north. This is at least as good as anything Freuchen or Rasmussen ever wrote. It's been in a few editions over the years for good reason. I happen to have the first & I think I've read it three times, the first when I was quite young. The author starts with a very condescending social Darwinist view of the poor, ignorant savages, but it's not long before he begins to see the world from a rather different point of view. He's not a scientist, and for that reason perhaps, this is a really terrific story, full of unforgettable scenes. A must read for anyone with an interest in the Inuit and life in the North. The description of Father Henry, a Catholic priest, ascetic and hermit who lived in a 6 foot by 6 foot ice hut near Pelly Bay for almost 20 years, is nearly beyond imagining. [I discover that more can be learned about Father Henry in Hummocks: Journeys and Inquiries Among the Canadian Inuit, by Jean Malauri.]

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