ATUK by Mischa Damjan


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This fantasy of Eskimo life is distinguished only for a few of its illustrations. The artist has really captured the stocky strength of the bundled up Eskimo figures and there is dramatic power in the stark simplicity of the lines he has used to show a dead stag and a dead wolf. These are enhanced by magnificent color work. Unfortunately, his huskies are positively feline in size, shape and attitude and this story is supposed to be about an Eskimo boy's lifelong devotion to a husky pup which was killed by a wolf. It is highly unlikely that in the tooth and claw survival pattern of the unassimilated Eskimo a child would be encouraged to so destructive an obsession about loss through death. However, it is at his father's suggestion that Atuk vows to grow strong and big so that he can kill the wolf who killed his pup. All through his growing years, that is all he is shown planning for. Then he does. He finds revenge unrewarding. He talks the whole thing over with a flower. The Arctic posy prattles back. (Up to this point, the landscape had not uttered.) They decide that what they both need is a friend. Atuk's last windy speech leaves the impression that he is getting engaged to the plant.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1966
Publisher: Pantheon