Kiviuq: An Inuit Hero and His Siberian Cousins

Kiviuq: An Inuit Hero and His Siberian Cousins Kiviuq: An Inuit Hero and His Siberian Cousins, by Kira Van Deusen, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, $32.95

Kira Van Deusen became familiar with the epic story of Kiviuq when she traveled with film- maker John Huston to many communities in Nunavut to hear elders tell this ancient story. In her new book she tells of the journey, of her experience as she hears many versions of the story, and of what she learned about the themes of the story and how it is an expression of the life of the Inuit people.

Reading the book is a great journey in itself. Kira begins with her own retelling of the story and then explores the themes of the many adventures of Kiviuq, introduc- ing us to the thoughts of storytellers about the hero and his life, telling us of her own discoveries about how the story is directly con- nected to the survival skills of the Inuit and giving many related stories, both Inuit and Siberian.

The value of this book is not only in the remarkable stories it contains and its in- sightful discussion of story and storytelling. It confirms over and over what all of us who tell stories should always be aware of, that the narratives we tell are just the surface of countless layers of meaning and custom and experience. Kira has taken real advantage of her opportunity to learn about many layers of the Kiviuq story and has given the results to readers of this insightful book.

Celia Lottridge; raconteur 13:3 page 26 Spring 2009
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