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.


Sameland by Magne Hovden (2010)

When I opened the present that contained this book, I laughed so hard. The cover. The fact that this book is about my home town. The perfect present.

Two guys are planning to start a Sami adventure park, the ultimate tourist scam. They have to get hold on some reindeer, a shaman and make an authentic Sami setting without spending much money on it. Quite an adventure getting it all together.

What I really loved in this book was the characters. I was snickering while trying to figure out who was the inspiration. The story was good and fun in the beginning, but then it became too much for me. I read somewhere that this might turn into a movie and I hope so because I think it will make a great flick.