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Michel the Giant

An African in Greenland

Tete-Michel Kpomassie James Kirkup Ros Schwartz



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17 May 2022
The gripping true story of one man's ten-year expedition from a village in West Africa to the Arctic Circle - a rare gem of travel writing which has inspired a generation
'The play of moonlight on the icebergs was indescribably strange, and its magnificent refracted shimmers were brighter than day. One night, fooled by its brilliance, I got up at three in the morning.'

Scorching heat, rich, fertile soil and treacherous snakes marked the landscape in which Kpomassie grew up in 1950s Togo, West Africa. When, as a teenager, he discovered a book on Greenland, this distant land of snow and ice became an instant obsession and he embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.

In this work of rich, immersive travel writing Kpomassie invites the reader to join him on his audacious journey as he makes his way from the Equator to the bitter cold of the Arctic and settles into life with the Inuit peoples, adapting to their foods and customs. Part memoir, part anthropological observation, this warm, captivating narrative teems with nuanced observations on community, belonging and colonization.

Originally published in 1981, this critically acclaimed work has been translated into nine languages and is a rare example of travel writing from a West African perspective that highlights unexpected connection between cultures despite their contrasting landscapes.

This translation by James Kirkup has previously been published with the title An African in Greenland
Translated by:   ,
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   247g
ISBN:   9780241554531
ISBN 10:   0241554535
Series:   Penguin Modern Classics
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Tete-Michel Kpomassie was born in 1941, in Togo West Africa. When it was first published, his critically acclaimed travelogue, Michel the Giant- An African in Greenland, was awarded the Prix Litteraire Francophone International and shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.

Reviews for Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland

Beautiful, compassionate, insightful . . . inner and outer landscapes both richly and honestly detailed . . . the furthest a book has taken me . . . Astonishing -- Johny Pitts * author of Afropean * A fascinating snapshot of Inuit culture and a reminder of the common threads that bind us all . . . a first-rate storyteller to the whole world -- Noo Saro-Wiwa * The Times * It is a long way in miles, but even longer in resilience, adventurous persistence and uncanny charm. . . . Kpomassie's book contains a catalogue of his impressions, combined with striking passages of fine writing. The result is the curious double perspective of a naive visitor, combined with the controlled distance of a writer -- Paul Zweig * The New York Times Book Review * Warm, witty and joyful -- Ann Morgan * Financial Times *

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