The Incomparable Atuk

by Mordecai Richler
Reviewed by Victor

Interesting comment on Canadian culture, but very dark.


An Inuit named Atuk comes to the big city, Toronto, to start a new life there. He brings some facets of his culture with him and the city folk love it. He quickly makes some connections and begins to market his Inuit lifestyle at the expense of others. However, greed, desire, and some powerful and disgruntled men catch up with Atuk's sometimes-shady dealings.


Atuk quickly spirals downwards in the morality department. Immoral sexual activity is hinted at, near enslavement of his family, and much deception. There are several bad guys, not all get punished - they avoid that because of their cleverness. The seemingly good characters are easily manipulated.

Spiritual Content

No serious spiritual content, there may be some mockery.


There is a fight between Atuk's family members and a head is chopped off.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There is drinking and drunkenness mentioned.

Sexual Content

Atuk seduces a girl and there are other mentions of what Atuk's brothers find sexually appealing. No graphic scenes, but what happens is fairly clear.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There are a few words to watch out for.


A grim story at the best of times, but very interesting if the lack of morals does not bother you overmuch.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 1.5
Written for Age: adult

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