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L'Africain du Groenland (1981)

par Tété-Michel Kpomassie

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

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4592241,669 (3.86)131
Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland--and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.… (plus d'informations)
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Affichage de 1-5 de 22 (suivant | tout afficher)
An interesting travel memoir about a young man from Togo, Tété-Michel Kpomassie, who read a book about Greenland became determined to travel there. This is the account of the roughly 18 months that he spent in Greeland in 1965-66, living with Greenlanders and learning about their way of life. It's a detailed account of Greenlandic culture, with some fascinating if often gruesome parts. (If you're squeamish about hunting or butchering, don't read this book.) However An African in Greenland maybe betrays a bit too much its origins as notes kept by the author during his stay—it's fairly episodic and lacking in much by way of emotion or reflection. While Kpomassie touches on the shared experiences of the Togolese and the Greenlanders in being colonised, he doesn't really go much further than that. ( )
  siriaeve | Jun 13, 2021 |
After a snake-assisted accident leaves Tété-Michel Kpomassie with some time to rest, he finds a book about the Inuit of Greenland on a shelf in a small bookstore run by missionaries. He's immediately smitten and decides that he wants to go to Greenland, quite an unusual goal for a teenage boy living outside of Lomé, Togo in the 1950s. And so Kpomassie sets out, working his way first in Africa and then in Europe. It takes him eight years to reach Greenland, but he makes friends along the way. And he makes friends in Greenland, where he stands out among the Inuit and the Danes. He's remarkably game to live as the Greenlanders do, from eating raw seal intestines and whale blubber, to living under conditions markedly different from what he grew up with. It's refreshing to see a "stranger in a strange land" story where the Western world is omitted entirely and Kpomassie's comparisons of Togolese and Greenlander culture are fascinating. There are certainly fewer snakes in Greenland! ( )
4 voter RidgewayGirl | Sep 28, 2020 |
Since I didn't really know anything about either Greenland or Togo before reading this, it was a very interesting topic, but the author skips over a lot of things that I would have liked to know and focuses heavily on things that I would rather not know about in such detail. Still, I'm glad to have read it. ( )
  tronella | Jun 6, 2020 |
Sometimes this memoir felt like a novel and other times, it nearly became an anthropological study. The author, who was from Togo in Africa, read about Greenland in book as a child and determined that he must go there. Resourceful and determined, he begins his travels, first up the coast of Africa, then across Europe, and finally from Denmark to the ice-covered island of Greenland. He describes the people of Greenland with wonder and curiosity, and makes a number of insightful comparisons to African cultures. He travels even further north in Greenland, living in several villages and learning new customs, but never quite making it as far north as he had hoped. I didn't initially realize how long ago this book was written (it was originally published in 1981), so this memoir is certainly not a depiction of how things are today, but they do capture the spirit of a traveler's curiosity and wonder in a unique land. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Apr 13, 2020 |
When Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo he would climb to the tops of coconut trees to get fresh coconuts. One day he chanced upon a python and her nest in the top of a tree. The python chased him out of the tree, causing him to fall a great distance to the ground. His family, who had witnessed the end of the altercation thought he had been bitten. They could not understand why the remedies weren't healing him. In desperation his family took him to the Sacred Forest to be healed by a priestess of the snake cult. When the priestess had finished the ceremony she sent him home to heal. Before he left the priestess told him that he should come back after he was finished healing to study with the snake cult. In gratitude his father agreed.
Kpomassie hated snakes and started thinking of ways to avoid becoming part of the snake cult. One day he saw a book about Greenland. He immediately fell in love with the idea of Greenland - the low temperatures, no snakes, and no trees. He came up with a plan to runaway to Greenland. He spent the next decade traveling north to Greenland. Once in Greenland he worked his way north so he could have the true Greenland experience -- dogsledding, seal and whale hunting, eating raw fish, surviving the long night of winter, etc.
Full of interesting facts about the social aspects of life in Greenland. One section near the end contained way too much information on the preparation of raw seal and fish. I skimmed that section, looking for important information between the carving up bits.
Kpomassie is a charming and open minded memoirist. Recommended. ( )
  VioletBramble | Nov 28, 2018 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Tété-Michel Kpomassieauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Alvarez, A.Introductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Kirkup, JamesTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland--and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.

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