The Chukchi Bible
Yuri Rytkheu, translated from the Russian by Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse
Archipelago: 354 pp., $17 paper
"My genealogy, like the tundra root we call the golden root, is enmeshed with its native soil. It does not spread very far below ground, as the permafrost is too near. And yet no hurricane could tear it from its native soil, no frost could wither it…." These stories, written by the son of the last shaman of the Chukchi people, whose villages once lined the shores of the Bering Sea, are so clear, surefooted, vivid and confident that it's hard to believe the people who passed them on so faithfully could ever be threatened by mere commerce. And...