From the Mouth of the Whale
"Achingly brilliant, an epic made mad, made extraordinary."Junot Díaz"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... show more
"Achingly brilliant, an epic made mad, made extraordinary."Junot Díaz"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."Hari KunzruThe 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.Sjón 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. Sjón was nominated for an Oscar for the song lyrics he wrote for Björk in the film Dancer in the Dark and has been working on Björk's latest project, Biophilia. His work has been translated into twenty-three languages.
Publish date: November 22nd 2011
Publisher: Telegram Books
Pages no: 288
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...