Ammie's Reviews > kabloona

kabloona by Gontran De Poncins
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's review
Feb 21, 2011

really liked it
Read from March 03 to 09, 2011

Well... I dunno. A book from the late 1930's, written by a French minor aristocrat, about going to live with the Inuit in Canada for a year? I was expecting some fairly offensive racial content, perhaps some interesting anthropological material, perhaps a meditation on live in a remote and harsh landscape. I got all of these things, some of them (psst--racism!) in spades.
It wasn't that I didn't understand where he was coming from--a lot of people used to believe that white people were literally more evolved than nonwhite people. It was expected, and although I found it irritating I wasn't too shocked. What did irritate me beyond belief was that de Poncins kept hinting that he actually really liked the Eskimos, and then referring to them as primitives who could barely hold a thought in their head, using pejorative terms, and although I think he meant it as a sort of compliment it was frustrating to wade through.
But! It was a decent book. He wrote some interesting things, when he wasn't being all racially gross. And he was one of the last "intellectuals" to visit some of the parts of the world he was in before they became much more widely exposed to white people, so that's useful and interesting. Mostly I'm just glad I'm done.

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