The mesmerising new novel by Iceland's internationally renowned writer Sjon - 'the trickster that makes the world, and he is achingly brilliant' Junot Diaz, 'an extraordinary and original writer' A.S. Byatt.
Reykjavik, 1918. The eruptions of the Katla volcano darken the sky night and day. Yet despite the natural disaster, the shortage of coal and the Great War still raging in the outside world, life in the small capital goes on as always.
Sixteen-year-old Mani Steinn lives for the movies. Awake, he lives on the fringes of society. Asleep, he dreams in pictures, the threads of his own life weaving through the tapestry of the films he loves.
When the Spanish flu epidemic comes ashore, killing hundreds of townspeople and forcing thousands to their sick beds, the shadows that linger at the edges of existence grow darker and Mani is forced to re-evaluate both the society around him and his role in it.
Evoking the moment when Iceland's saga culture met the new narrative form of the cinema and when the isolated island became swept up in global events, this is the story of a misfit transformed by his experiences in a world where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance.
Sjon's prose is never histrionic or overwrought, balancing rage and hallucination . . . with a gentleness of spirit, an affection for precision and the small scale. The result is sure to delight his fans and convert many new ones. - Guardian
MOONSTONE is Sjon's slim, simmering masterpiece. Vibrant and visceral, briskly paced but meditative, unsettling yet droll and flecked with beauty, it is a pitch-perfect study of transgression, survival and love. - David Mitchell
A work of miniaturist perfection: a brief, brilliant jewel of a book in which each paragraph is precision-cut, each sentence burnished. - Guardian
A magical book, the work of a great illusionist. You see the historical moment unfurl, luminous with desire and imagination and the flames of an erupting volcano, dark with repression, disease and death. You see it all through the poetic, poignant images of Mani Steinn's story. And then in a final flourish you see it all vanish in a way that makes it unforgettable. - Adam Foulds, author of THE QUICKENING MAZE
Sjon's Moonstone is a marvel of a novel, queer in every sense of the word - an impeccable little gem - Rabih Alameddine
A masterful, intricately woven story with unforgettable images, an intense style, and a unique hero. The reading experience of the year. - Frettabladid
A joy to read. An amazing book. - DV Daily
****** A small, poignant novel about the greatest things. (6 out of 6 stars) - Politiken
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.