From the Mouth of the Whale
Sjón; Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
From the Mouth of the Whale is an Icelandic saga for the modern age. The year is 1635. Iceland is a world darkened by superstition, poverty, and cruelty. Men of science marvel over a unicorn's horn, poor folk worship the Virgin in secret, and both books and men are burned.
Sjón introduces us to Jónas Pálmason, a poet and self-taught healer, banished to a barren island for heretical conduct, as he recalls his gift for curing "female maladies," his exorcism of a walking corpse on the remote Snjáfjöll coast, the frenzied massacre of innocent Basque whalers at the hands of local villagers, and the deaths of three of his children. Pálmason's story echoes across centuries and cultures, an epic tale that makes us see the world anew.
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - Nominee
Dazzling light: when the day is such a brilliant blue-white that the firmament is no longer a frame for the burning sun, rather the sun has become the kindling for a brilliant silver curtain that rises at the horizon...
Praise for From the Mouth of the Whale
“Sjón is the trickster that makes the world, and he is achingly brilliant. From the Mouth of the Whale is strange and wonderful, an epic made mad, made extraordinary.” —Junot Díaz
“Hallucinatory, lyrical, by turns comic and tragic, this extraordinary novel should make Sjón an international name. His evocation of seventeenth-century Iceland through the eyes of a man born before his time has stuck in my mind like nothing else I've read in the last year.” —Hari Kunzru-
In the Press
Scandinavia House, The Nordic Center in America, 2013 Dear friends, I'd like to introduce a dear friend of mine, Sjón. I met him first when I was sixteen. With others he had started the first and only surrealist movement in Iceland, a group of six or so members called Medúsa. I was in a punk band at the time. - FSG's Work in Progress
Authors in Conversation A heartfelt introduction by Björk is a hard act to follow. But when Sjón and Hari Kunzru took the stage at Scandinavia House, The Nordic Center of America, they pulled out all the stops: David Bowie, the Sex Pis... - FSG's Work in Progress