From the Mouth of the Whale: A Novel
“From the Mouth of the Whale is strange and wonderful, an epic made mad, made extraordinary.” —Junot DíazFrom the Mouth of the Whale is an Icelandic saga for the modern age. In the words of Hari Kunzru, “Hallucinatory, lyrical, by turns comic and tragic, this extraordinary novel should make Sjón... show more
“From the Mouth of the Whale is strange and wonderful, an epic made mad, made extraordinary.” —Junot DíazFrom the Mouth of the Whale is an Icelandic saga for the modern age. In the words of Hari Kunzru, “Hallucinatory, lyrical, by turns comic and tragic, this extraordinary novel should make Sjón 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.” 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 burned. Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen afoul of the local magistrate. Banished to a barren island, Palmason 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. Palmason’s story echoes across centuries and cultures, an epic tale that makes us see the world anew.
Publish date: April 30th 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages no: 231
Edition language: English
Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account. The story itself is not as good as the blurb on the back leads you to believe. Despite reading another of Sjón's novels prior, I had an idea of what I'd be going into, but From the Mouth of the Whale was maybe weirder than The ...
In the prelude to this tale we follow a hunter on his way home from hunting some colossal and huge tusked boar, “the most savage brute the north has ever snorted from it’s icy nostrils”, although the traditional way is to leave the carcass where it fell, the hunter is carrying it home to demonstra...
An occasionally interesting but often a bit frustrating read. It could've been more than it was - but I can see why it garnered so much praise. There is something undoubtedly magical here... but not magical enough. The magic of the story and of the writing is intermittent for me and I don't see w...