An African in Greenland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

An African in Greenland

An African in Greenland

Published April 21, 2009

Tété-Michel Kpomassie grows up in a good family in Togo, and one day discovers a book about Greenland in a used bookstore. With the adorably random obsessiveness of youth, he decides that he just has to go there. After several years of working his way north via Paris and Germany, he finally gets the right visa and reaches Greenland in 1964. He’s a handsome and agreeable kind of guy, young Greenlandic women quickly fall for him, and his description of the sometimes casual, sometimes ritual promiscuity of Greenlandic life is riveting. Kpomassie drifts from village to village, hosted by one family after the next. He is alternately exhilarated by the thrill of learning to ice-fish and drive a dog-sled, and repelled by Greenlandic isolation, drunkenness, underemployment, poor housekeeping, and village jealousies. After a year and a half, he returns to Paris, where he has lived ever since. Originally written in French, this book has been translated into many languages and has slowly become a real classic.

Available at Borgarbókasafn’s downtown branch, or for less than a dollar from Amazon. com.

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