An African in Greenland


Book Review

A couple of months ago I had sat down to try and catch up with the nightly news cycle. The channel, however, was showing one of their other programs called "Interesting Moments in History" which usually a sign that it is anything but interesting. Dissapointed and about to give up there was a piece about an African in Greenland. Intriged, I watched the 5 minute segment and by the end I had purchased the book online. 


The book follows a young man from Togo who decides, after reading a book on the Eskimos in Alaska and Greenland, to visit the country and to live with the Inuit people. His journey takes him through Africa and Europe to Greenland, a journey of 8 years in total. 

The book doesn't spend too much time on the journey getting there, and after about 3 chapters Kpomassie has arrived in Greenland, where the rest of the book takes place. Kpomassie strength here is to reflect the true hardship and nature of the Greenlanders. The book mainly takes place between 1967-1968 so some of the content of the book may not be so common place on Greenland today, but it still serves well as a historical book. Kpomassie is also a straight talker, and is honest about the Greenlanders flaws, as he is about their strengths. You get the feeling there is nothing in the book he hasn't already told them to their face. 

As soon as they saw me all talking stopped. So intense was the silence, you could have heard a gnat in flight. - An African in Greenland. 

The book is split into different sections which reflects his journey to and through Greenland. I have to admit that I had never really thought of the country as a place to visit but the author has made me think otherwise. Funnily enough the book feels like a fairytale, of Kpomassie on a grand adventure to the north. It is a credit to him that he is a charismatic person, and able to gain the trust of the the people living in vast and desolate land. 

Since reading this book I am interested in reading more about this country, to see how it compares today. It would have been good if Kpomassie, during his many visits there, had written another book on the country more recently. 

This book is definitely worth a read and it talks warmly about the people who live on the world's largest island and by the end of the book you may want to travel there and become a true Greenlander. 


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