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 the 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.
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
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. - The Nation
Born in Reykjavik in 1962, Sjon is an Icelandic writer whose novels have been translated into thirty-five languages. He has won several awards including the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for The Blue Fox and the Icelandic Literary Prize for Moonstone, while From the Mouth of the Whale was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
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 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.