From the Mouth of the Whale

From the Mouth of the Whale

Book - 2011
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"Achingly brilliant, an epic made mad, made extraordinary."--Junot D#65533;az

"Hallucinatory, lyrical, by turns comic and tragic, this extraordinary novel should make Sj#65533;n an international name. His evocation of seventeenth century Iceland through the eyes of a man born before his time has stuck in my mind like nothing else I've read in the last year."--Hari Kunzru

The year is 1635. Iceland is a world darkened by superstition, poverty, and cruelty.

Men of science marvel over a unicorn's horn, poor folk worship the Virgin in secret, and both books and men are burnt.

Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate. Banished to a barren island, Jonas recalls his gift for curing "female maladies," his exorcism of a walking corpse on the remote Snjafjoll coast, the frenzied massacre of innocent Basque whalers at the hands of local villagers, and the deaths of three of his children.

Sj#65533;n was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize (the equivalent of the Man Booker Prize) for The Blue Fox , which was also longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2009. Sj#65533;n was nominated for an Oscar for the song lyrics he wrote for Bj#65533;rk in the film Dancer in the Dark and has been working on Bj#65533;rk's latest project, Biophilia . His work has been translated into twenty-three languages.

Publisher: London : Telegram, 2011.
ISBN: 9781846590832
Branch Call Number: FICTION Sjon
Characteristics: 271 p. ;,20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Cribb, Victoria


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Aug 03, 2013

A difficult and confusing book, yet skilfully written. If you have trouble with disjointed, surrealist writing, it's probably best to put this book down.

My favorite parts were the birth of Berglind, the exorcism of the draugr, the worship of Mary in the mound, all the random bits of natural history, and especially Lucifer's story at the very beginning.


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