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What was the resolution to Kemen's dilemma? Was is simply that all People are the same family?


Margaret says:


I don’t think the issue was totally resolved, either by the Auk people or any people since… The way I see it, the people in my book have to balance identity against xenophobia; hospitality, and the need to intermarry, against maintaining their boundaries against threats from outside. In the end I guess the only answer is to keep on negotiating. Zigor realised he’d extracted an impossible promise from Kemen – Kemen couldn’t guarantee how or where Lynx names would live on. No individual can control that. Kemen’s fear is that he’ll be punished – cast out, perhaps – for promising the impossible. In the end he’s let off the hook. Lynx names will grow wherever they can, rather like ground elder (I’ve just been weeding the garden). The identity of different peoples merges and changes, either peacefully or violently. It would be nice if all People saw themselves as one family, but sadly I don’t think they do, and I doubt if they ever did.

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I've now finished this book and although it did take me a while to get through it I think I did enjoy it. I did find it difficult to relate to any of the characters as obviously the world in which they live is totally different from anything I've ever known.


The go-betweens puzzled me for a while - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what they are. There were also parts that completely revolted me -


I definitely can't relate to eating the raw liver af any animal, yet alone a human being!



I'm completely amazed that Margaret Elphinstone could write about something so unknown, she must have done a huge amount of research.


On the whole I think I enjoyed the book but I did find it difficult to battle with whilst reading it recuperating from surgery. Perhaps something more light hearted would have been more suitable. I would like to read it again under different circumstances and may well do so.

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