Afrodites basseng by Gert Nygårdshaug (2003)

This is the final book in the trilogy about Mino and his eco-terrorism. Jonar, a biologist, who lives isolated in the Norwegian forest with his eight year old son is having some very strange dreams about a young woman walking around in the desert. The only contact they have with the outside world is through Mino who operates the small fire-fighting plane on the small lake next to their cabin. Jonar receives a mysterious beautiful small chest from Mino, but no key, and the next day a very fast growing forest threatens their existence. Are they the only living humans?

I love Nygårdshaug and his amazing stories. They are thought-provoking, I love the characters and I’m almost reading them too fast with a smile on my face.


the Storyteller’s Market by Gert Nygårdshaug (2008)
(Fortellernes marked)

Eight letters sent from an old priest to a retired veterinarian and a librarian takes them on a voyage through history. The old priest is on a hunt for the truth about Jesus and the creation of Christianity. He writes the letters as mystery hunts, where he gives clues about his next discoveries and the two friends in a small village in Norway manage to follow his discoveries by using literary sources. And what the priest discovers will be a blow to all religions springing from the deserts in the Middle East.

Holy Grail, Templars, Maria Magdalena. Same shit, but definitely new and interesting wrapping. What I really liked about this version is the characters and their surroundings. The retired veterinarian and the librarian love good food and drink, fishing and women. And it is set some time in the near future with global warming. This is not a thriller, no hero being chased by Templars or the Illuminati, and I was actually relieved to discover it. Another thing that I liked was that it isn’t a complicated book and it is easy to follow as the important clues are repeated so I never lost track. And finally, it is in no way a copy of other works about the same theme.

The only thing that is wrong with this book is that it has not been translated to English.


Himmelblomsttreet by Gert Nygårdshaug (1995)

This is the sequel to Mengele Zoo. Another book that should be translated into other languages. The book opens with a Norwegian, Jens Oder or Yensho as he is known to the Brazilians, coming back to a Europe in war to fulfil the great plan. But something goes terribly wrong and he watches his friends being crushed in the coffins they have been hiding in on a ship when arriving at a harbour in Portugal. He is then captured and brought to a monastery somewhere. Then the book goes backwards to Amazonas where he had started up an organisation that collects seeds from the plants in the rain forest and analyse and save them for the future. But as in Mengele Zoo, the village where the sampling take place is destroyed by multinational corporations. And then Yensho meets Mino, the eco-terrorist.

It took me a while to get into the sequel, but once I did, I read the remaining 350 pages in one sitting. Loved it as much, or perhaps even more, than Mengele Zoo.

sixteen: eco-terrorism

Mengele Zoo by Gert Nygårdshaug (1989)

First of all: why has this book not been translated?
Somewhere in the South American rainforest a young boy is collecting butterflies. He is aware that the indigenous peoples are being treated badly by the men of power and he decides to kill the leader of the military police. One day his whole village is slaughtered because they are opposing an oil company on their land. The boy escapes and runs into the wilderness where he is found by a magician. As they travel around South America he sees that multinational companies are killing the land and he decides to win the land back. A few years later he and three friends scare and amaze the world with the eco-terrorist group Mariposa.

It is beautiful yet a brutal book. Magic realism with amazing descriptions of the environment. Not a bad thing to say about it. Strongly recommended. And the next time I’m near a book store I’m buying the sequel, Himmelblomsttreets muligheter.

It reminded me a lot of another brilliant book with the same theme, the Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) by Edward Abbey. This one is about the damming of the Colorado River and a group of people who start blowing up construction supplies and bridges. Where Mengele Zoo is serious and sad, the Monkey Wrench Gang is a lot of action and also funny. Yet there are a lot of similarities, like the ideologies behind the terrorism and the love for mother nature.