THE TRANSFORMATION by Mette Newth

THE TRANSFORMATION

by , translated by
Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Set in the harsh and unforgiving environment of 15th-century Greenland, this is a story of two people from vastly different cultures coming to love and depend on each other. Navarana is hunting a polar bear during what should have been Greenland’s summer. But for the past three years, the summer weather has been as brutal as winter, leaving the “Human Beings” (native Greenlanders) starving, fighting among themselves, and wondering what they’ve done to deserve such a severe punishment. Spotting the bear near an abandoned settlement of “strangers” (Europeans), Navarana ventures into the settlement and kills the bear. As she is sheltering in the abandoned village, she wanders into a church and finds a young man, little older than herself, who has somehow survived whatever has killed the rest of the village’s population. Brendan, a monk originally from Ireland, had answered the Pope’s entreaty for priests and monks to save “the Holy Church’s farthest outpost.” Navarana rescues him, bringing him back to her settlement and back to life. She resents Brendan, who has become her responsibility, and yet she’s intrigued by him. Brendan also feels mixed emotions about his rescuer—he hates that Navarana pities him and hates that he is totally dependent on her for his survival, leaving him feeling humiliated and emasculated. Despite embracing much of the Greenlanders’ way of life, Brendan remains committed to Christianity, although he feels he was ill-prepared by the Church, which told him that the heathens were literally monsters who would show only gratitude to the monks for bringing them salvation. He never expected them to be real people with beliefs of their own that meant as much to them as his own did to him. One night, Brendan and Nava sleep together (or as the author delicately puts it, they “melted together”) and realize that they love each other and are meant to spend the rest of their lives together. While the story dollops out big servings of Inuit mysticism and spirituality that often verges on the trite, and has language that is too often stilted, passages that are overly wordy, and a sometimes confusing plot, there is definitely something intriguing and fascinating in watching these two characters learn to accept and love each other. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 2000
ISBN: 0-374-37752-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2000




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