17 APRIL 1936, Page 36


Current Literature

By Rockwell. Kent Mr. Rockwell Kent, the well-known American illustrators went to live among the natives in a tiny settlement on the coast of Northern Greenland. With the help of the Green- landers he built a House for himself, and with Salamina for housekeeper stayed among them as an accepted member of the community for several winters. Salamina (Faber and Faber, 15s.) is a long account of his experiences, lavishly illustrated with portrait drawings of the inhabitants, of Igdlorssuit who became his intimate friends. These drawings are amongst the best of Mr. Kent's work, and are in every way superior to the text, which is too heavily encrusted with those literary mannerisms common to travelogue com- mentaries. The view of the coast provokes a sentence like this " Its cliffs, proclaiming inaccessibility, preclude the thought of human settlements." It is a long book, and, but for the illustrations, an exhausting one. It is regrettable that an artist whose work is distinguished for the clean certainty of its line, and its economy, should, as a writer, mistake distortion for originality. In spite of these faults, the book as a whole is a fascinating piece of work ; and at the end he has made us see a strange, glistening world which is more like a land.of legend than an actual place. Salamina is only one of many figures who come to life in these pages ; all the villagers -treated him as one of themselves, and he knows and describes every detail of their strange existence.