Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Expeditionen: Min kärlekshistoria by Bea Uusma

Three men. One hydrogen balloon. A planned journey across the North Pole. Something goes very wrong. Thirty years later they are found dead. It turns out they crashed on the ice in the middle of nowhere, only three days into their adventure. The year was 1897 and Salomon August Andrée, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg had to drag their two hundred kilos heavy sledges across the ice, trying to avoid the holes of open water, only to discover that the ice drifted in the opposite direction. After a while they managed to get ashore an ampty island they name White Island, where they spend their last days despite their supplies of food, clothes and weapons.

The author, Bea Uusma, is determined to find the cause of death. She is such an inspiring person. While others think something is interesting, and leave it at that, she, at the age of twelve, writes a melody for the Swedish Eurovision with lyrics about Trichinella Spiralis infection, Trichinosis - the commonly considered cause of death of the expedition participants, in the late 70's. When others watch a documentary and discusses it later, she studies to become a doctor, and graduates with the attitude to finally being able to investigate the scientific and biological elements profoundly – hopefully with the truth within reach. When others read a book about a mystery and suspect there is something to discover but ignore it, she actually manages to find financiers and gathers her own expedition, and sets out for the North Pole.

The common denominator is passion. The book is both a non-fictitious detective story, a biographical narrative about the author's obsession and a heart breaking love story. Among photographs, autopsy protocols and the search for new evidence are personal letters representing another story. A story about the youngest participant leaving his soon to be wife on the mainland, his love for her remaining in the letters found among everything else thirty years later.

Uusma lives and breathes the Andrée expedition, wanting to be a part of it, but is over a hundred years too late. She visits museums, searches archives, reads the participants diaries and journals, visits their homes, and even a medium. She walks in their footsteps and repeatedly tries to reach White Island. With new evidence in consideration, she systematically dismisses causes of death. Eventually, the mystery unfolds before her, with the reader at her side, hopefully getting a glimpse of her feeling of obsession and ultimate passion, something people incapabale of feeling glowing enthusiasm can never understand. This is a book written by and for obsessed people, living their lives to the outmost.

Bea Uusma earned the August Prize in 2013 for the book.

Impressive. Inspirational. Magnificent.

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