Author: Michael French Smith
Publisher: University of Hawai’i Press.
Now available in paperback, anthropologist Michael French Smith’s 2013 memoir covers the author’s return to Kragur Village on Papua New Guinea’s Kairiru Island, in East Sepik Province.
Although Smith first went to Papua New Guinea in 1973, in 2008 it had been ten years since he had been back to Kragur Village, Kairiru Island, where he was an honorary “citizen.’’
He went back not only to see people he had known for decades, but also to find out if his desire to return was more than an urge to flee the bureaucracy and recycled indoor air of his job in a large American city.
In Kragur he finds many things he remembered fondly, including a life immersed in nature, but also stifling midday heat and an intense village social life.
Smith uses his anthropological expertise subtly, to illuminate Papua New Guinean lives, to nudge readers to look more closely at ideas they take for granted, and to take a wry look at his own experiences as an anthropologist.