From the mouth of the whale

Sjón, 1962-

Book - 2011

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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Sjon Checked In
London : Telegram 2011.
Main Author
Sjón, 1962- (-)
Other Authors
Victoria Cribb (-)
Physical Description
271 p. ; 20 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Sjon, winner of the prestigious Nordic Council's Literature Prize and an Oscar nominee for his musical work with Bjork, presents a lyrical novel set in seventeenth-century Iceland, where poet Jonas Palmason lives in exile on barren Gullbjorn's Island. Here, with a sandpiper as his only companion, Jonas recalls the varied events and misfortunes of his life while ruminating upon the origins of nature, humanity, and his perpetual thirst for knowledge. A self-taught healer, Jonas hones his craft to treat women's various ailments. He also recollects subsequent events, from his marriage to his beloved Sigga, who later joins him in exile, to a particularly memorable exorcism of the corpse of a parson's son, to a harrowing massacre of Basque whalers by fellow villagers. As life in exile begins to wear on Jonas, he is transferred to Copenhagen, where he joins doctor and philosopher Ole Worm to study scientific writings and drawings. Jonas is finally able to experience the freedom, however fleeting, he so desires. Intense and enigmatic, Jonas' tale unfolds with the power of both myth and memory.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Quixotic adventures of a 17th-century naturalist and physician banished to a remote northern island make up this antiquated novel by the prolific Icelandic author of The Blue Fox (and Oscar-nominated songwriter, for the film Dancer in the Dark). Having come afoul of the Inquisition for his alchemical and exorcist practices, Jonas the Learned is stranded with his wife, Sigga, on Gullbjorn Island and unravels the dreamlike narrative of his life: having learned to read in the care of his sage grandfather Hakon Thormodsson, as a young man he acquires the art of healing by treating women and gains a reputation that carries him westward along the Snjafjoll coast. Jonas finds work in towns like Litla-Vik, where harpooning stations are established in the summer of 1613 by Basque whalers, at first welcomed, then reviled. By 1635 Jonas is languishing in his island exile; despite being rescued and delivered to Copenhagen, where the charges against him are dismissed, Jonas is reimprisoned on the island, this time utterly alone. His fate "forever turning with the wheel of fortune," Jonas is not unhappy living in harmony with all God's creatures, and indeed this blithe, rhapsodic novel moves backward from the Book of Jonah in the Hebrew Bible to create a work charged with lyrical energy and metaphysical purpose. Agent: Licht & Burr Literary Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved