Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life, by Pitseolak Ashoona and Dorothy Harley Eber (McGill-Queen’s), is not a small book but it’s a little story made large by Pitseolak’s energetic drawings. Pitseolak, an Inuit woman, was one of the generation of people who grew up on the land and then made the transition to life in a settlement.
In the early 1970s she told her story to Dorothy Eber, who tape-recorded it and turned it into a book. Pitseolak speaks in such simple, matter-of-fact language that I couldn’t stop reading, even though the people in her drawings (she was a well-known artist) occupy most of each page as they play games, fight demons, fish through the ice or just sit in the kayak and wait; the energy in these pictures gave me a new appreciation of Inuit art.
The book also includes Eber’s reflections on Pitseolak’s life and her place in the art world, as well as two prefaces, one for the first edition (1971) and one for this new edition (2003).