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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Reader's Diary #1772- Alootook Ipellie: Arctic Dreams and Nightmares

Not one to normally appreciate magical surrealism, I nonetheless quite enjoyed Alootook Ipellie's Arctic Dreams and Nightmares which is rife with it.

It's still difficult at times to see a larger picture, connections between stories, or even to fathom some of the supernatural elements. Granted, by Ipellie's own description it is meant to be a smorgasbord of ideas based upon his own dreams and nightmares, Inuit legends and myths, and more. Some of my confusion, I don't doubt, is due to my not being part of the Inuit culture.

Still, none of this bothers me or detracts from my enjoyment. Each story in the collection stems first from Ipellie's fantastic (both in the fantasy and the great sense) lined drawings. The cover, if you can see it, features a man with faces on each of his fingertips. This is one of the more tame drawings. On that note, the sheer creativity alone is entrancing. But it also helps that there's a sly sense of humour throughout, especially when Ipellie subverts typical European culture to blend in with the northern Inuit worldview. Christianity, the Russian ballet, Shakespeare, and Brigitte Bardot are but few of such topics that are blended in with hilarious and/or provocative results. But it is still, fortunately, the Inuit culture that is front and center, celebrated, challenged, and explored.

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