Synopses & Reviews
Howard Norman spent the fall of 1977 in Churchill, Manitoba, translating into English two dozen "Noah stories" told to him by an Inuit elder. The folktales reveal what happened when the biblical Noah sailed his Ark into Hudson Bay in search of woolly mammoths and lost his way. By turns startling, tragic, and comical, these inimitable narratives tell the history of the Arctic and capture the collision of cultures precipitated by the arrival of a hapless stranger in a strange land.
Norman himself was then a stranger in a strange land, but he was not alone. In Churchill he encountered Helen Tanizaki, an Anglo-Japanese woman embarked on a similar project--to translate the tales into Japanese. An extraordinary linguist and an exact and compelling friend, Tanizaki became Norman's guide through the characters, stories, and customs he was coming to know, and a remarkable intimacy sprang up between them--all the more intense because it was to be fleeting; Tanizaki was fatally ill.
Through a series of overlapping panels of reality and memory, Norman recaptures with vivid immediacy a brief but life-shifting encounter and the earthy, robust stories that occasioned it.
"Wonderfully written."--The Washington Post
"Quietly powerful...[A] moving and haunting account of an uncommon friendship in the frozen north."--O magazine
"The question of 'appropriation of voice,' the phenomenon of culture shock and even the basic function of narrative are among the subjects illuminated by this little book. . . . Very touching and human."--The Toronto Star
"Norman's book offers a refreshing simplicity. A-"--Entertainment Weekly
"The book is a lyrical tapestry . . . in which sadness and humor, quick wit, and long reflection are balanced."--The Times Union (Albany)
In this memoir of myth and an uncommon friendship that was sparked while Norman was in Manitoba translating Inuit tales into English, the author writes of his bond with Helen Tanizaki, who became his guide through the stories and customs of the Inuit, and who was fatally ill during their time together.
In the fall of 1977, Howard Norman went to Churchill, Manitoba, to translate Inuit folktales, and there he met Helen Tanizaki, an extraordinary linguist translating the same tales into Japanese. In Fond Remembrance of Me
recaptures their intimacy, and the remarkable influence that she, and the tales themselves, would have on the future novelist. Through a series of overlapping panels of reality and memory, Norman evokes with vivid immediacy their brief but life-shifting encounter, and the earthy, robust Inuit folklore that occasioned it.
About the Author
is the author of five novels, including The Haunting of L.
, The Bird Artist
, and Northern Lights
. He lives with his family in Vermont and Washington, D.C.