Michel The Giant. An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie | Book Review

Michel the Giant by the Togolese writer and adventurer, Tete-Michel Kpomassie is an extraordinary book about a long journey that Michel took from his home in Togo via Europe to reach Greenland, the land of eternal ice he had become fascinated with as a child and dreamt of visiting.

In 1950s when he was a teenager, Michel found a book in one of the church bookshops in Togo. This book was titled The Eskimos from Greenland and Alaska. He became extremely interested in the remote lands and in 1958 as a 17 year old boy he started his journey, first along the western coast of Africa reaching Marseille in France in 1963 and then heading for the land of ice that he reached in 1965.

Once in Greenland he immersed himself in the life and customs of the local people for next two years. During his time there he found out that Greenland was not just the land of happiness as he initially envisaged. It was a place like any other with its problems and issues which was somehow exoticized by the young Michel.

Undoubtedly, Michel the Giant is a love letter to Greenland, its people and their way of life from the perspective of a Togolese explorer and adventurer. I highly recommend it – this is truly a fascinating read.

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