In January 1921 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen adopted a four-year-old girl from the Chukchi people North East in Siberia. He named her Kakonita. Three months later he got another girl from Chukotka – 10 years old Camilla Carpendale, daughter of a local salesman. At this time Amundsen was one of the most famous people on earth.
Kakonita and Camilla became the closest to what Roald Amundsen ever could call his own family. For almost three years, they lived together – be it on a journey through North-America, or at home in his villa outside Oslo. The girls grew found of him and Amundsen expressed his surprise in letters and diaries of how attached he felt to them. Kakonita and Camilla learned Norwegian, went to school and got friends. But suddenly Roald Amundsen sent them back. Back to where they came from – to an uncertain destiny in Siberia.
In Cape Heartstone, Espen Ytreberg for the first time tells the full story about Kakonita Amundsen, Camilla Carpendale and Roald Amundsen. Through an attentive and original use of the sources available – through texts, film and photography – Ytreberg reveals an unknown and unique story and puts it into a broader context. Cape Heartstone is a thoughtful, engaging and often surprising book about colonialism and polar history, about modernity and migration, about prejudice, family and feelings. About trust and betrayal. And about love.