The Owner of the Sea: Three Inuit Stories Retold – Richard Price
In re-telling the Inuit stories included here, Richard Price opens out remarkable northern vistas and unfamiliar narratives, strange gods and unforgettable characters. Carol Rumens described Price as a poet who is ‘brilliant quietly: inventive, sometimes dazzling, but never merely showy’: precisely the talents for rendering, rather than appropriating these great story-cycles of Inuit culture. Here we learn of ‘Sedna the Sea Goddess’ and ‘Kiviuq the Hunter’, the central protagonists of the book’s remarkable stories.
They are rich in extraordinary incident. In Sedna’s world women can marry dogs and have half-puppy, half-human children; birds beat their wings so hard they call down a storm on a fugitive kayak; walruses originate from… well that would be telling.
Each story-cycle abounds in natural wonder, celebrating our creaturely relations with our fellow inhabitants of land and sea. ‘The Old Woman Who Changed Herself into a Man’, a short narrative, bridges the major sequences, telling the story of an older woman and a younger one who become lovers in the isolation of their remote home.