An African in Greenland (New York Review Books Classics)

Registered by wingpam99wing of Ochiltree, Scotland United Kingdom on 1/9/2012
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11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingpam99wing from Ochiltree, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, January 09, 2012
bought as a second hand book for the North America book for the 666 challenge - looks intriguing!

Journal Entry 2 by wingpam99wing at Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 11, 2012
A fantastic book - the story of a young man who reads a book about Greenland and the 'eskimo' lifestyle in a missionary bookshop in his native Togo, West Africa, and decides that he has to see this for himself. It takes him nearly a decade to work his way north - 6 years working his way around West Africa, followed by time in France and Denmark - but eventually he gets there. With only 6 years of formal education, followed by correspondence courses during his travels and a natural aptitude for languages, this is the story of his travels around the sparsely populated country.

*reserved for an international bookring, aileenconnor wants to read this one eventually but has a few queued up ahead of it!

Journal Entry 3 by wingpam99wing at Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (1/19/2012 UTC) at Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom

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going to lunatum at lunchtime!

This is part of an international bookring http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum/20/470799/

Journal Entry 4 by lunatum at Savukoski, Lappi / Lappland Finland on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The book just arrived. I have three ring books ahead of this.

Journal Entry 5 by lunatum at Savukoski, Lappi / Lappland Finland on Saturday, February 18, 2012
An interesting journey. I think reading would have been more enjoyable if there were more details.

Thank you for sharing this book. I mailed it forward today.

Journal Entry 6 by lunatum at Savukoski, Lappi / Lappland Finland on Saturday, February 18, 2012
An interesting journey. I think reading would have been more enjoyable if there were more details.

Thank you for sharing this book. I mailed it forward today.

Journal Entry 7 by wingbooksieboowing at Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Having moved on from Finland, the African arrived safely in Germany today, with a mass of cute stamps on the packaging, a beautiful card with an example of the Northern Lights, and a bookmark made specially by the last reader to match the book (thank you, lunatum).
I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Journal Entry 8 by wingbooksieboowing at Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I've been reading books about unusual journeys since I was a kid (many years ago), and this was definitely one of the most interesting for me. With many of the travel books I've read, I could imagine myself making the same journey, but in this case I don't think my stomach could cope with some of the "delicacies" the author had to eat.
Although I found this book fascinating, at the end you're left wondering how he really felt during his time in Greenland. Did he miss his family in Togo, did he ever think about returning home earlier than planned, was he ever/often bored, did he ever regret his decision to leave Togo? Maybe he didn't feel able to write about his emotions, or maybe he just didn't want the book to have 1000 pages.
I would also love to know the reaction of his family and friends in Togo when he returned, and what he regarded as the highlights of his journey when telling them about it.
Never mind, you can't have everything in a single book.
Thanks, pam99, for the opportunity to read this one. :-) I'll be sending it on to gunvor in Denmark tomorrow.

Journal Entry 9 by wingbooksieboowing at Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (3/15/2012 UTC) at Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany

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Sent by post to gunvor in Denmark, complete with lunatum's bookmark and a couple more from Germany. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Journal Entry 10 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Saturday, March 17, 2012
The African arrived safely to Denmark today together with some nice stamps (my son was very impressed by the one with trains) and three (!) bookmarks. Luckily, I finished another bookring book today, so I will start reading now.

Journal Entry 11 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Monday, April 09, 2012
I really enjoyed the adventures of Mikili in Greenland and I'm impressed that he could actually eat their food! I agree that it would be interesting to know more about his thoughts and emotions and the reactions in Africa, since this was one of the reasons he decided to leave Greenland. Its interesting to hear about how relatively easy it was for him to get to Greenland and how warmly he was welcomed by almost everyone he met on his trip.

On the other hand, I cannot read this story without being sad and embarrassed, the Danes have done so much wrong to Greenland with the colonization which has created so many problems in the country - alcoholism, unemployment and poverty. Most of the highly educated are still Danes and Greenland is highly dependent on receiving a lot of money from Denmark. Now there is a growing optimism however that Greenland can be independent due to their richness in natural resources and tourists. I'm going to Greenland twice this year as part of my job and this book has broadened my perspectives about the importance in what I do there, helping giving Greelanders a higher education, so they are not so dependent on foreigners.

I have the address for the next in ring and will pass it on to Australia soon.
Thanks for sharing, pam99!

Journal Entry 12 by gunvor at bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, April 09, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (4/9/2012 UTC) at bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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The book is now on it's way to Australia, I hope you enjoy PJLBewdy.

Journal Entry 13 by PJLBewdy at Smiths Lake, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Received today - thanks for sending the book on to me.
Nice bookmarks as well!

Journal Entry 14 by PJLBewdy at Smiths Lake, New South Wales Australia on Monday, June 11, 2012
A unique travel book. I wish I had this man's cojones - leaves home and relies on providence and his native intelligence to support him. Worth the read.

Journal Entry 15 by PJLBewdy at Smiths Lake, New South Wales Australia on Monday, June 11, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (6/13/2012 UTC) at Smiths Lake, New South Wales Australia

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Off to New Zealand in the next leg of its travels. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 16 by wingkiwiinenglandwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, June 29, 2012
Thank you for sending this book over the pond. I have visited Greenland and look forward to reading this travel book.

Journal Entry 17 by wingkiwiinenglandwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, June 29, 2012
To make it easier to find the next person on the list, I have copied the postal order off the forum

1. Lunatum - Finland
2. Booksiebook - Germany
3. Gunvor - Denmark
4. PGLBewdy - Australia
5. KiwiinEngland - NZ
6. SherlockFan - NZ
7. VeganMedusa - NZ
8. Edwardstreet - NZ
9 davemurray101 - Australia
9. DubaiReader - Dubai
10. Bookguide - Netherlands
11. Askeladda - Norway (Europe pref)

then back to pam99 in Scotland!



Journal Entry 18 by wingkiwiinenglandwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Sunday, September 23, 2012
This book provided a fascinating look at travel in Greenland before tourism really took off. Michael must have been a remarkable person to decide, while a teenager living in Togo, to head off to Greenland.

I found the very last part when he does some direct comparison between hunting beliefs in Africa vs Greenland really interesting to read, and enjoyed the details of how people lived in Greenland. The local rituals when houses were white washed etc.

What I didn't't enjoy about this story was Michael himself, he was one of lifes takers. In some parts of the book it was very obvious (to me) that he was prepared to push people past their comfort zone for the sake of his own selfishness. He stayed with a German couple he meet by change for a year, but all contact was cut with them a short time later. Staying a year with someone would surely strain things but he seemed unconcerned.

The people in Greenland seemed very generous, offering food and accommodation whenever it was asked. However Michael managed to annoy even some of these people with his rudeness (at one point he declines an invitation to stay somewhere, demands clothes are made for him, and when he arrives in a village where he has embarrassed someone and is therefore shunned foists himself on the poorest family in the village. This family had so little food and he though nothing of joining them and taking what little they had).

The reason for his rather sudden leaving of Greenland seemed strange too, he so wanted to live up north but felt it was his duty to return to Africa and tell people about the world. Methinks his source of funds from France may have run out.

Journal Entry 19 by wingkiwiinenglandwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Monday, September 24, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (9/24/2012 UTC) at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand

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I hope you enjoy this book, Sherlockfan, as part of your 666 challenge.

Journal Entry 20 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Thanks very much KiwiinEngland. The book arrived safely today. From reading others' comments herein there is much to discover. I've a couple of others ahead but should be able to get to it reasonably soon.

Edited for typo. :-(

Journal Entry 21 by wingpam99wing at Troon, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, October 01, 2012
just to update the list - a few more have joined

1. Lunatum - Finland
2. Booksiebook - Germany
3. Gunvor - Denmark
4. PGLBewdy - Australia
5. KiwiinEngland - NZ
6. SherlockFan - NZ
7. VeganMedusa - NZ
8. Edwardstreet - NZ
9 davemurray101 - Australia
9. DubaiReader - Dubai < book is here
10. Bookguide - Netherlands
11. Askeladda - Norway (Europe pref)
12. BAMP, Sweden

Journal Entry 22 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, November 02, 2012
I'm not really enamoured of travel tales but because it was so different from anything I knew I found it very interesting. Just could not stomach thoughts and descriptions of the food though, nor could I imagine how he could adapt so readily to the diet.
What would the various folk whose hospitality he shamelessly used and abused think if they read this book? Did he care about other people's feelings at all?
I found it difficult to judge time during the book. Did the journey really last 10 years? How lucky he was to get funding from his pseudo father in France.
There was lots to learn about life and customs both in Togo and in Greenland and it is not a book I'll forget easily.
Sorry to have taken a bit longer than intended. It will be off to VeganMedusa on Monday.

Journal Entry 23 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, November 02, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (11/4/2012 UTC) at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand

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By post to VeganMedusa although I'll check with her to be sure she hasn't come across a copy elsewhere.

Journal Entry 24 by VeganMedusa at Invercargill, Southland New Zealand on Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Thanks Sherlockfan (and for the card and bookmark)! I'll get to this book next week.

Journal Entry 25 by VeganMedusa at Invercargill, Southland New Zealand on Wednesday, November 28, 2012
This was more than I expected. I wasn't expecting the author to be so diligent - learning the languages of the people he visited, studying historical records to see how customs in Greenland had changed, etc. He didn't do a lot of comparing Togolese customs to Inuit, but there was some.

At the same time, while I knew there was going to be plenty to disgust a vegan (I'm not judging the Inuit for that, they live the way they need to live, it's just gross to read about) there was SO MUCH eating of seals, whales, seabirds, etc. Raw whale lung dunked in blubber, ugh. And the descriptions of the families digging in to a seal in their living room, children covered in blood as they all chow down on the good bits. Yikes.

Plus, wife-swapping! I feel sorry for the women, who the author admitted sometimes seemed reluctant. But again, he pointed out the reasons behind it, and like women in his country who end up being one wife of many, the Inuit women have to have the foursome relationship for their long-term survival.

Fascinating stuff. I have decided I'll never go to Greenland,though. I've always wanted to, but I'm now at the age where I can see that it just wouldn't work, with the whole vegan thing. Plus I don't drink coffee and don't like getting falling down drunk. So that's 99% of Inuit culture I couldn't participate in!

Wikipedia says the author lives in France, but regularly visits his home country Togo, and Greenland. I just wish there was an update to the book - I'd love to hear more from him.

Posting to Edwardstreet this afternoon. Thanks pam99 and everyone else for the chance to read this interesting book.

Journal Entry 26 by wingEdwardstreetwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Monday, December 03, 2012
Read this and how intriguing. I so want to know what has happened to the author in the 40 years since. I am now waiting to hear from DaveMurray101 so I can post it to him as the next person on the list.

I simply could not have endured staying with people whose bodily fliuds were always so close - either the snot or the toilet bucket. The amount of raw meat and fish including blubber would have done my head in. Amazing that he so wanted to stay. Posted to DaveMurray101 in Australia today, 7 Dec 2012

Journal Entry 27 by davemurray101 at Maryville, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, December 29, 2012
Received in the mail from NZ yesterday. Looks an interesting read.

Journal Entry 28 by davemurray101 at Maryville, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, January 12, 2013
An African in Greenland is interesting in that it is from one colonial culture examining another. While the book dragged towards the end, it did give a lot of insights into Greenlander culture. Passing on to DubaiReader when the post offices open.

Journal Entry 29 by davemurray101 at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Monday, January 14, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (1/14/2013 UTC) at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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Posted to DubaiReader

Journal Entry 30 by DubaiReader at Dubai, Dubai United Arab Emirates on Sunday, June 23, 2013
It finally arrived! Off the slow boat from Australia. My books seem to get to Australia a lot quicker than the ones heading in the opposite direction, but all's well that ends well.

Now I just have to find the time to read it. 2 wedding dresses to make this year have seriously dented my reading rate but the last wedding is mid July and then I shall go into a reading coma :)


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