As readers peruse The White Mary, they will find
themselves continually wondering where Kira Salak has drawn the line between
fact and fiction. Salak, a journalist who reported from war zones for many
years, used her travels in Papa New Guinea (PNG) as a basis for The White
Mary. In her introduction to the book, she writes, "Like Marika, I went
there alone. I journeyed through its remotest jungles in a dugout canoe, or
followed a native guide, hacking my way through the dim, tangled rainforest. I
met indigenous people who were so isolated that they had never seen a white
person before." Salak does a remarkable job of depicting those experiences
throughout The White Mary. Indeed, the jungle and its people are so
vividly described it's impossible to imagine they could have been written by
someone who hadn't experienced them.
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