• Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reading Group Gold
The Blue Fox - Sjón; Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria CribbSee larger image
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The Blue Fox



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About The Author

SjónSjón

Sjón is the author of, among other works, From the Mouth of the Whale and The Whispering Muse. Born in Reykjavík in 1962, he is an award-winning novelist, poet, and playwright. His novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. Also a lyricist, he has written songs... More

photo: Krsitinn Ingvarsson

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Reading Group Gold

Already celebrated far beyond his native Iceland, the novels of Sjón arrive on waves of praise from writers, critics, and readers worldwide. Sjón has won countless international awards and earned ringing comparisons to Borges, Calvino, and Iceland’s other literary superstar, the Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness. He possesses a singular literary voice that captivates through evocative images and startling turns of fate. Sjón’s storytelling, which is as inventive as the sagas of his home country, takes us to mythical worlds interwoven with the history of humanity: In The Whispering Muse, readers board a sailing vessel in the aftermath of World War II but find themselves transported to ancient Greece. In The Blue Fox, a hunter’s determination raises questions about his approach to life and the survival of the most vulnerable members of his community. And From the Mouth of the Whale takes us to seventeenth-century Iceland, where persecution and superstition obscure the truths revealed by a compassionate healer. 

     The questions and topics that follow are designed to enhance your experience of these three unique novels. We hope they enrich your reading group’s journeys of mystery and adventure.



1. In the novel’s opening scene, as the Reverend Baldur Skuggason and the vixen interact, how do they balance the mutual danger with the fact that they find each other alluring?

2. How was your reading affected by the alternating points of view? How does the herbalist Fridrik B. Fridjónsson’s view of his community compare to what you see in the scenes of the Reverend Baldur and the vixen?

 

3. What does Hafdís Jónsdóttir’s childhood tell us about the culture that didn’t want to see her survive? What accounts for Fridrik’s unusual compassion toward her-—his Abba—and toward Hafdís’s sweetheart, Hálfdán Atlason, as well?


4. How did you interpret the conversations between the vixen and the Reverend Baldur? Reading the novel as a fable, what are its lessons?

 

5. How does the Reverend Baldur see his role as a religious leader? As he and the vixen debate electricity on pages 98–100, what do we discover about how their moral compasses are set? What do they believe is their source of “power”?

 

6. Discuss the landscape as if it were a character in the novel. In what ways is it threatening? In what ways is it enchanting?

 

7. In his letter in the book’s closing pages, what does Fridrik reveal to us about his Abba’s view of the world? Despite her dictionary, what emotions transcended language when Fridrik took her in?


8. When the Reverend Baldur meets his fate, is justice served? Is he destined to be the hunter, or the hunted?

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