Lisa's Reviews > Kon-Tiki
by Thor Heyerdahl
by Thor Heyerdahl
Jan 18, 12
Read from January 11 to 17, 2012
This is one of those books which should be sold as a 'companion piece' to something else, be it a film, play or in this particular case, a museum in Oslo. I have visited the Kon-Tiki museum there and to be honest, I wasn't that interested in the theory that ancient men sailed from Peru to Polynesia on a balsa raft. (I must have missed the part about balsa wood being used to build the raft, as that would have certainly grabbed my attention). This book corrected that idea of mine. The author explains where he got the germ of his idea from, how he tracked down fellow amateur enthusiasts prepared to risk their lives for it, the tracking down of sufficiently large balsa trees to build the raft, finding a secure place to build it and lastly, the various permissions to launch the raft. There is a certain amount of dry humour and understatement used by the men on board when encountering various natural hazards of the sea as they progress. When they miss landing on one island to the currents, I felt almost as frustrated as they would have done even though the fact that I was reading the book showed that someone at least had made land safely somewhere. Later on, they demonstrate a bit of battlefield surgery on a child and they also witness another near beaching of a vessel. Thankfully that ship was saved too and they returned home to tell their tales. It's not quite Swallows & Amazons for adults but a humorous account of a dangerous voyage over thousands of sea miles. The last point I'd like to make is that although the book was probably originally written in Norwegian, this is a very good translation, with no jarring grammar or syntax. It in fact reads like a slightly old-fashioned adventure tale, which it in fact it is.
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