Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Reader's Diary #1567- Michel Hellman: Nunavik

I'm always a little guarded against those who visit the north for a brief period of time, believe themselves to be sudden experts, and then write a book about it.

So, it was with no little reservation that I picked up Michel Helman's Nunavik which serves as his travel memoir as a tourist across the northern communities of Quebec, in Nunavik. Still, I was instantly attracted to his style, which reminded me of Alison McCreesh's work. One odd feature, however, is his portrayal of himself as a polar bear while everyone else as human. If this were the case, I'm guessing he would have gotten himself shot very quickly!

Also, I'm more convinced that he managed to fairly represent the place. Perhaps artists are able to observe and process more quickly than I give credit. It felt, at least, like my experiences in Nunavut. And, I think he was fair; respectful but not afraid to point out negative aspects as well. Of course, Nunavut is not Nunavik, and besides spending a little time in the Kuujjuaq airport, I can't claim to be an expert on the place either.

Authenticity aside, it was an entertaining read.

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