Back to the Top of the World


by Hans Ruesch. Scribner’s, $6.95. A sequel to Mr. Ruesch’s previous novel about Eskimos, this story follows the wanderings of an Eskimo family, their collision with the fringes of European civilization, their stubborn survival in the face of appalling odds. Basically grim, the tale is full of hilarious episodes like Vivi’s attempt to present her yellow-haired baby girl to any white man in the trading post where she sat out her husband’s jail sentence. Neither Vivi nor Papik can understand the consternation aroused by what they consider a reasonable and even flattering offer. Mr. Ruesch writes well, gravely maintaining the Eskimo point of view and at the same time pointing up the ironies and confusions that view creates.