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Red Milk

Sjon

7 Reviews

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Historical fiction

By one of the most admired writers on the international stage, a timely novel about a young Neo-Nazi in post-WWII Iceland and the roots of the far-right global networks of today.

By internationally-acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjon, a timely novel about a young Neo-Nazi in post-WWII Iceland and the roots of the far-right global networks of today.

Gunnar Kampen grew up in Reykjavik during the Second World War in a household strongly opposed to Hitler and his views. Doted on by his mother and two older sisters and with a degree from a business college, he is well set in life. And yet, in the spring of 1958, he founds an antisemitic nationalist party and sets about enthusiastically supporting an ever-growing international network of Neo-Nazis - a cause he continues to struggle for and that takes him on a clandestine mission to England, despite being terminally ill.

Based on one of the ringleaders of a little-known Neo-Nazi group that operated in Reykjavik in the late '50s and early '60s, this taut and potent novel explores what shapes a young man and the enduring allure of Nazi ideology.

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Praise for Red Milk

  • SELECT PRAISE FOR CoDex 1962:

  • 'This is a work of great ambition ... above all it feels like a work of virtuoso narrative for its own sake; an Icelandic 1001 Nights' - The Sunday Times

  • Sjon writes with a poet's ear and a musician's natural sense of rhythm . . . has mastered (Gunter Grass)'s technique of merging history with high-speed comedy and surreal profundity . . . an heir of Mikhail Bulgakov and Laurence Sterne, eases literary references into the text as mere suggestions . . . His wild, subversive imagination is among his great strengths - Guardian

  • Bewitching . . . His stories compound the dreamscapes of Surrealism, the marvels of Icelandic folklore and a pop-culture sensibility into free-form fables. Call it magic realism under Nordic lights - The Economist

  • [CoDex 1962] consumed me for the better part of a week. I can only echo Loewe, with gratitude, exasperation and awe. "This book's a bloody thief of time." - New York Times

  • This book is psychedelic, it's potent and it wants to consume the whole world . . . Sjon is a prodigal storyteller in all senses of the phrase . . . he is a master of atmosphere, a fine observer of the cross-hatchings of human motivation and a vivid noticer of detail. - New York Times Book Review

  • Sjon's novels are brilliant collisions of history and fable, psychology and fantasy - Guardian

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Sjon

Born in Reykjavik in 1962, Sjon is an Icelandic writer whose novels The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale, Moonstone and CoDex 1962 have been translated into thirty-five languages. He has won several awards including the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for The Blue Fox and has also been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, while Moonstone won the Icelandic Literary Prize and the Icelandic Booksellers' prize for Novel of the Year. Sjon has also published nine poetry collections, written four opera librettos as well as lyrics for various artists, and 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 100 years. He lives in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Victoria Cribb has translated more than twenty-five books by Icelandic authors. Her translations of Moonstone and CoDex 1962 were both longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and the PEN America Translation Prize. In 2017 she received the Orostir honorary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.

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