A reissue of Sjon's masterful, award-winning novel
'Funny, strange, provoking and disturbing; darkness with a light touch.' TLS
A master storyteller, Sjon seamlessly blends seafaring yarns of the ancient world with the manners of the modern age.
The year is 1949 and Valdimar Haraldsson, an eccentric Icelander with elevated ideas about the influence of fish consumption on Nordic civilisation, has had the singular good fortune to be invited to join a Danish merchant ship on its way to the Black Sea.
Among the crew is the mythical hero Caeneus, disguised as the second mate. Every evening after dinner he entrances his fellow travellers with the tale of how he sailed with the fabled vessel the Argo on the Argonauts' quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Funny, strange, provoking and disturbing; darkness with a light touch. - Times Literary Supplement
A quirky, melodic, ticklish, seamlessly-translated, lovingly-polished gem of a novel. Sjon's work deserves space on any self-respecting bookshelf of European fiction. - David Mitchell
Once again, Sjon has chosen an unusual subject, interwoven the fantastical with the ordinary, and produced a complex and strangely compelling work of fiction. - Huffington Post
An extraordinary, powerful fable - a marvel. - Alberto Manguel
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.