A majestic, breathtaking novel by one of Iceland's greatest writers: 'an extraordinary and original writer' - AS Byatt
'A masterpiece . . . I challenge any author to top it!' Sigridur Alberstsdottir, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
Josef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay - carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany.
Taking refuge in a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the young woman who nurses him back to health and together they shape the clay into a baby. But en route to safety in Iceland, he is robbed of the ring needed to bring the child to life. It is not until 1962 that Josef can be 'born', only to grow up with a rare disease. Fifty-three years on, it leads him into the hands of a power-hungry Icelandic geneticist, just when science and politics are threatening to lead us all down a dark, dangerous road.
At once playful and profoundly serious, this remarkable novel melds multiple genres into a unique whole: a mind-bending read and a biting, timely attack on nationalism.
Sure to delight the reader . . . irresistibly sweeps the reader away . . . a masterpiece, meticulously executed from the first page to the last - National Broadcasting Service, Iceland
Dazzlingly funny and entertaining in sections, dramatic and tragic, light and serious, woven with the artistry we recognise in Sjon's other work . . . he creates with his inexhaustible imagination a gorgeous and relevant ending - Frettabladid
Sjon is one of our era's great writers. Like Ovid, Kafka, and Bulgakov, he is fascinated by metamorphosis and, from apparently limitless resources of the imagination, can convey what it must feel like. - Nation
An extraordinary and original writer
Iceland's literary spell-binder . . . A tantalising smoke of marvel and magic drifts through Sjon's work - Economist 1843
Beguiling, surpassingly eccentric . . . Though occasionally reminiscent of David Mitchell, Sjon's work is unlike anything else in contemporary fiction. Strange - but stunning - Kirkus
Born in Reykjavik in 1962, Sjon is the author of the novels The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale, Moonstone, CoDex 1962 and Red Milk, for which he has won several prizes including the Nordic Council's Literature Prize and the Icelandic Literary Prize. He has also been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and his work has been translated into thirty-five languages.
In addition, Sjon has written nine poetry collections as well as four opera librettos and lyrics for various artists. He was nominated for an Oscar for his lyrics in the film Dancer in the Dark. In 2017, Sjon became the third writer - following Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell - to contribute to Future Library, a public artwork based in Norway spanning a hundred years.
Sjon lives in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Victoria Cribb has translated more than twenty-five books by Icelandic authors. Her translation of Moonstone was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and the PEN America Translation Prize in 2016. In 2017 she received the Ordstir honorary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.