THE HIGH VALLEY by Kenneth E. Read


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Read describes his lengthy sojurn as a research fellow among the Gahuku tribes of New Guinea (Australian). Read is an oddball who, by his own admission, is much too withdrawn in temperament to be happy in contemporary society. He says he remembers his Gahuku friends much more vividly than people he met last week. Strangely enough, this retiring spirit also semi-incapacitated him as a field researcher. His present book is a languid extolling of supernal beauties of cloud and landscape and of his hesitant, subjective relations with tribesmen. The natives, who welcomed him, had no ability for abstract thought and were so aggressive, extroverted and demonstrative that eventually they laid him low with a bleeding ulcer which nearly killed him. As he withdraws fastidiously, life is constantly foisted upon him. Fortunately he is an acute observer, and he wrote for several hours each evening. The friendships he formed occasion some of the best pages here-- the natives themselves rather than the author's sensibilities (he is admittedly ""unequivocally subjective"") turn this into a fascinating account.

Publisher: Scribners