THE GHOST VOYAGE by Gontran de Poncins


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Ethnographer and author of Kabloona, de Poncins relives the start of his return from fifteen months of life in the Arctic to civilization in 1939 via the Audrey, a vessel of mixed heritage, owned by the trappers Watson and Slim. Coming aboard at Coppermine, the Audrey speeded out before de Poncins had time to adjust to white men; he found no point of contact with The Two; storm and fog companioned their trip; inadequate maps and charts, navigation and seamanship complicated their progress; hostility mounted. The short stops ashore did not mean sociability; they beat their way from Tukuyaktuk Post to Hershel, Point Barrow, Point Hope, Cape Prince of Wales, Akutan (where the author went whaling), Dutch Harbor and from there made Vancouver, not by the coastal route but by way of the Pacific where the Audrey took all the ocean could offer. This is a high strung transcript of a tortuous transition from an adventure which had taught self control, patience, silence and mutual aid to a trail of nerves and body and the complex response is sensitively and emotionally recorded on its various levels, for an audience that is looking for more than physical excitement.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1954
Publisher: Doubleday