The Explorer's Daughter: A Young Englishwoman Rediscovers Her Arctic
by Kari Herbert
ISBN: 0 670 91374 X
Kari is the daughter of polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert. When she
was only 10 months old he took her and his wife Marie to northern Greenland
where they were to live for almost two years whilst he documented the
fading culture of the Polar Eskimo.
This was long before the luxury tours available today, and many would
have said it was madness to take a young family to such a remote and
harsh land. The courageous exploits of this amazing family culminated
in two wonderful books - in addition to Wally's own publications - honouring
the people they lived with. The first was Marie's The Snow People:
Life among the Polar Eskimos published in 1973, the second is Kari's
The family made several return visits during Kari's childhood, then
as an adult in 2002 she returned alone to reacquaint herself with the
people she regards as family. This book is an account of that visit,
interwoven with reminiscences of a most unconventional childhood wrapped
snugly in the warmheartedness of the people who readily accepted her
family, taught them their ways and watched out for their safety.
This was a visit that challenged the emotions of all concerned: modern
life had brought many difficulties as well as advantages, and personal
tragedies that had befallen Kari and her Greenlandic family were reawakened.
The deep emotions, expectations, uncertainty and euphoria of this unique
experience are all expertly related, whilst at the same time giving
the reader an insight into the lives of the Inuit. In anthropological
texts we may be given the same information, but the people are usually
presented as objects; here the reader is able to identify with them
as people just like ourselves.
Review by Solveig Gardner Sevian