Mitchell achieves the nearly impossible: writing as an “outsider,” he immerses his reader in the interiors of Pacific Islanders without simplifying the people, condescending to them, or romanticizing them. These stories are told from the points of view of Nagovisi people young and old, male and female, gentle and fierce, and by narrating their lives in their own voices, Mitchell conjures characters complex and remarkably real. A highly original collection, quietly lyrical and wise.
- Ann Pancake, author of Strange As This Weather Has Been
This is an eloquently woven tapestry of ethnographic fiction. Don Mitchell displays what the power of creative imagination can do by blending Nagovisi myths with Elliot Lyman’s venture as an anthropologist into the cultural universe of the Nagovisi. Don demystifies ethnography as a quest to understand the exotic other into what it really is – a fictional narration of human subjectivities.
- Simon Kenema, Nagovisi Anthropologist
Each of Don Mitchell’s “Stories from Nagovisi” is told by a different backwoods villager about the white anthropologist who has come to live among and study them. They, already colonized several times over, in turn study him. Among these, “I’m Going to Sovele” enthralls. Here the old, enfeebled, half deaf Lunta journeys, in his telling, to a hostile upland village to attend the funeral of a sometime enemy, where he fears being killed. Moment by moment, until he can make his escape, this unlikely Scheherazade beguiles his dangerous hosts with tales of the anthropologist, now not a study in the ironies of acculturation but a sheer comic creation. - Irving Feldman, author of Collected Poems, 1954-2004