Meet Morten A. Strøksnes - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Morten A. Strøksnes. He has written Lumholtz’ Ghosts (original title: Lumholtz’ gjenferd).
The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the autumn 2022.

Read our short interview with Morten here.

Strøksnes, morten photo baard henriksen websider

What is the book about?

The plot of Lumholtz’ Ghosts plays out on two levels. On one, we follow the explorer, author, anthropologist, collector, and photographer Carl Lumholtz (1851-1922) through his life, the current times, and the world. He had an adventurous life, and was showered in honors and orders for his expeditions and the books about them. Few Norwegians have been as famous, nationally and internationally, then fallen so far into obscurity.
The book’s second level isn’t historic, but contemporary. I traveled in Lumholtz’ footsteps to all the places he had lead expeditions, i.e. Australia, Mexico, USA, and the Central Kalimantan. This was to look up “his” indigenous peoples, those he doomed to certain ruin and extinction in their meeting with civilization (singular). So in a way, the book isn’t just about them, then, but also about us, now.
The expeditions form the book’s backbone, and naturally offer lots of drama, but many important themes are also woven into the text: colonialism, post-colonialism, indigenous peoples, globalization, racism, science, ideology, destruction of nature, species diversity, cultural diversity, et cetera.

What inspired you to write this book?

Almost thirty years ago, I came across a book by Lumholtz. Becoming an author was still quite an unrealistic dream. All the same, it struck me even then, that Lumholtz and his life was a source of immeasurably rich material. Treated correctly, it could say much about the world, what it was and what it turned into. The material started working in me already back then, some kind of energy, or a peg to hang things on.

The plan was never to write any kind of traditional biography about a “notable, forgotten, white man” who we must remember, on life or death. In the book, Lumholtz is rather a vehicle to carry us through history. He was an ambiguous individual, and shared some of the darker contemporary beliefs. Simultaneously, he was driven by a thirst for knowledge, his desire to experience the world, and his love for nature. Much of what motivated him, also motivates me — although the comparison stops there.

As expected, the project has demanded all I have to give as an idea historian, journalist, author and human. Massive amounts of archival material, from all over the world, needed to be identified and examined. Additionally, I have completed journeys that are almost as challenging today as they were in Lumholtz’s time.


Strøksnes lumholtz gjenferd 9788249525676

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the autumn 2022 here