Saturday, March 01, 2008


The White Dawn by James Houston

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Challenge - Canadian Book Challenge - Nunavat
This book takes place on Baffin Island in 1896. While the Eskimos have heard of the men from the south with light skin, they have never seen one. Into their orderly village lives come three such men who were swept overboard and managed to reach the island. Two men are light-skinned, the other black, but their appearance into the village of twenty or so Eskimos, manages to change things immensely. The story is told by a young, crippled man who lives on the outskirts of village life because of his disability. While telling how the three strangers are taken in and cared for, Avinga also shares many details of how the Eskimos lived and how their society functioned. Houston also made small sketches of utensils and snow houses throughout the book. Even though this is a novel, the facts about the people are historically correct and absolutely fascinating. It's quite humorous when Avinga discusses the white men's (dog children) strange customs because they seem so normal to me. What the story eventually comes to share is how a society which worked so well for these people becomes corrupted by the influence of the outsiders. My main advice for anyone planning to read this book is to do it in the summer. I really struggled with page after page of blowing, blinding snow and frigid temperatures while I'm suffering with the cold from hell in frosty Vernal, UT. I know I've got it easy. Thank heavens for my furnace, soft bed and down comforter. No dark, musty snow house warmed only by a seal-oil lamps and sleeping on a snow shelf wrapped in caribou skins for me. Not to mention the bathroom facilities. Ycch.
Rating: 3.75
Posted by Framed at 7:56 PM

Susan Helene Gottfried said...
I read this a few years ago and simply loved it. What a great book! Glad to see you've discovered it, too.
12/22/2007 1:32 PM
John Mutford said...
I recently read his Whiteout and just about despised it. Perhaps White Dawn is much better, but I'll have to take your word on it.
12/23/2007 3:02 PM
Booklogged said...
Sounds like summer would definitely be a better time to read this chilly tale.

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