A Death in the Rainforest: How Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an anthropologist studying in a remote part of the world? If so, A Death in the Rainforest is a book not to be missed. Don Kulick looks back at thirty years of research into the death of Tayap, the native language in Gapun, a remote village in Papua New Guinea. His honest account of his work and adventures in this village are no less than fascinating. What he discovered was not just a language that was dying due to neglect and the expansion of Tok Pisin, one of the island’s national languages, but a village of interesting people waiting for change to come to their village.
Of course, change doesn’t come without a price, and Kulick experienced some of it first-hand. As tensions and violence on the island increased, Gapun was not immune. Kulick was at one point threatened by local bandits, and a villager lost his life, which meant Kulick could no longer continue his work. Instead of putting villagers at risk of further violence, he chose to stay away for fourteen years. When he returned, the villagers welcomed him once again. His funny, warm, and at times sad account of the changing way of life in Gapun makes for an informative and unforgettable read, and one that I wholeheartedly enjoyed.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||277 pages|
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