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Saturday 6 January 2024

In the Jungle: Serpents, Sorcery, and Salvation

     The drunk throws away the empty bottle, the smoker discards the empty packet, but a book addict never throws away anything. Thus it is that I still have many of the books I read and enjoyed fifty years ago, and since my backlog of reading material is almost finished, I have had the chance to read and enjoy them once again. One of these was Mitsinari, twenty-one years among the Papuans by AndrĂ© Dupeyrat (translated by Erik and Denyse deMauny for Beacon Books, 1957). A version was published in the US as Savage Papua. Some of the events he recorded were quite unforgettable, and ten years ago I shared with you his story of the man who apparently turned himself into a cassowary. However, on rereading it, I came across other very strange happenings.