A Proud Monkey In Iceland
A story about a black West Indian, raised in America, man's search for his destiny. Born into a family of ancient African healers, as an adult he finds himself living in Iceland knowing that for some reason relating to his destiny he has to be there. But not knowing how living there fits into his quest to find his destiny. More
A West Indian boy named George was born into a family of healers, who, for centuries, for each generation had been led by a female chosen by their African god. Each of these females was born with subtle facial features resembling a monkey; this was known as “the mark of the monkey.” However, when George’s mother, the chosen female for her generation, became a Christian, she rejected her traditional obligation, and their god, who was angry with her, punished her and her family by denying her the birth of the girl child with the mark. Instead, their god had her give birth to George, who was born with the mark of a monkey. But their god has a special plan for George. Unknown to him, he was born to fulfill a special destiny.
From birth, George showed himself to be curious and clever. The striking events in George’s life—from his early teachings of ancient and traditional African stories by his beloved grandmother to his communal extended family living situation in New York City to his unwarranted institutionalization to his time at a White university (the State University of New York– Binghamton) and at a Black university (Howard) to his introduction to African life by his first love to his experiences as a psychologist and to his time spent in Iceland and Africa—all play a vital role in the fulfillment of his destiny.
In a major vision as a teenager, before a heated argument with his mother, George was visited by his deceased grandmother. She told him that he is not a Christian, that his mother had fulfilled her destiny and he has to fulfill his, and that his destiny will take him to an island that is much different than the place of his birth: an island of fire and ice. He didn’t understand this cryptic message. But years later, as an adult, he met an Icelandic woman. They married, had two children, and moved to Iceland. This is the explanation of the title of the book, albeit the title is also an allusion to the fact that, in the past (and, in some circles, the present), Blacks were often referred to in a disparaging manner as “monkeys.” In addition, the lead character was purposefully given the name George and made curious to reflect a connection with the Curious George book series, which involves the adventures of a monkey, captured in Africa and brought to the United States, which has racial undertones.
When he arrived in Iceland, George remembered his grandmother’s prediction, but its meaning was not quite clear to him; indeed, on the surface it seemed quite contrary: his family was from a hot island with a Black population, and Iceland is a cold island with a White population. After some time there, he learned about Icelandic sagas and about Icelandic people’s love of folklore, their belief and trust in magic and spirituality, and their pagan tradition. He realized that there were more similarities between his African ancestry and Icelandic ancestry then there were differences.
After a few years, George became an alcoholic. During this time, he had a vision in which his grandmother appeared before him at a magical mountain. She told him to leave Iceland and return to the village of his ancestors; as a result, he traveled to West Africa.
George’s travels in West Africa took him to Ghana. There, he found the village of his ancestors, a village that is not found on any map. The only way of finding it is to be directed by the god of his ancestors. He found the village with the help of the god, and discovered that each of the eleven families of the village had been given different responsibilities by their god and that each family was led by a person with the mark of a different animal. The woman with the mark that led his family told him that his mother had changed the way their god had set up the system and that it was his duty to get the tradition back on track. To do so, he must return to Iceland and await the birth of his daughter, who will start the process anew in Iceland.