Thor Heyerdahl Frederick H. Guidry - Essay

Frederick H. Guidry

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Fatu-Hiva"] indefatigably records the details of [Liv and Thor Heyerdahl's] semi-informed leap into another way of life. The account is buoyed by the author's persistent enthusiasm for the project, despite obvious privations, bouts with disease, and incidents of danger.

The journey itself, and not surprisingly the book about it, carries an undertone of hippie-like defiance of modern-day conveniences and customary ways of looking at life and purpose. The reader races ahead to the conclusion that, yes, it is possible to "tear ourselves away from our artificial life," but to what end? Most people do not need to go through such a grueling experience to arrive at such simple knowledge that "we have nowhere to retreat to, no choice but to help one another to build a durable civilization in harmony with whatever natural environment we have left."

But for readers who enjoy a survival story told from the standpoint of youthful idealism, "Fatu-Hiva" has much to offer by way of adventure and discovery, capped by a satisfying glad-to-be-back finale.

Frederick H. Guidry, "The Kon-Tiki Man Describes How His Career Began," in The Christian Science Monitor (reprinted by permission from The Christian Science Monitor; © 1975 The Christian Science Publishing Society; all rights reserved), August 20, 1975, p. 27.