- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Refreshing I flew over Greenland when returning to the States v
RefreshingWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I flew over Greenland when returning to the States via Iceland and it took over an hour to fly over! Suffice to say, it’s big! It’s not green like its name implies, but frozen white. This book is the story of Gretel Ehrlich’s adventures to Greenland, a place I can see better now since she describes her seven trips so vividly in This Cold Heaven. Exercising her poetic license, she renders a seemingly static and frozen environment into a place rich with life. Surprising as it may be, she discovers ways to speak beyond physical descriptions and event narrations into all manner of inquiry -- just as the Eskimos, to borrow her metaphor, used “ice as a flint on which their imaginations were fired.”
Natural, physical beauty is Ehrlich’s muse, and she particularly loves big open spaces and the Far North. This book shares a valuable look into the complexity of northern Greenland. The people she came to know see the world with much different eyes, and learning about their culture is shocking at times. The alcoholism and domestic abuse is alarming, (not unlike many other indigenous cultures that undergo rapid modernization), but what really astounded me was their preference of the four months of endless darkness to the gentler summers without night.
This book is very interesting but her inconsistent writing style can be distracting. She starts with an arctic clarity but slips into densely metaphoric passages. I don’t think it’s her best work and there are other related books that I found more enjoyable to read. Her memoir, Solace in Open Places, is strong and Peter Freuchen’s Arctic Adventures (which Ehrlich wrote the preface for) captures a dynamic look at Eskimo culture in the early 20th century.