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From the Mouth of the Whale Paperback – 16 May 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Telegram Books (16 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846590833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846590832
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Every now and then a writer changes the whole map of literature inside my head. The most recent has been the Icelander Sjón, whose work is unlike anything I had read, and very exciting ... I think of Icelanders as erudite, singular, tough, and uncompromising. Sjón is all these things, but he is also quicksilver, playful and surreal ... [Sjón] has changed the way I see things.' --A.S. Byatt, The New York Review of Books

Shortlisted --International IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize 2013
Shortlisted --The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012

Hallucinatory, lyrical and by turn comic and tragic-an extraordinary novel. --Hari Kunzru

'Sjon is the trickster that makes the world; and he is achingly brilliant... strange and wonderful, an epic made mad, made extraordinary.' --Junot Diaz

Sjón is a poet, and the aesthetic excitement is his own. He is an extraordinary and original writer. And his translator, Victoria Cribb, is also extraordinary in her rendering of the roughness and the elegance, the clarity and the oddity of this splendid book. --A.S. Byatt, Guardian

The narrative is kaleidoscopic and mesmerizing, comic and poignant by turns. Victoria Cribb s translation brilliantly captures these multiple changes in tone and scene. Switching between the language of the learned, both superstitious and scientific, the invective directed at Jónas s enemies, ghost-laying poetry, and the dim twilight portents of the original Icelandic title which unsettle man and nature, the surrealism of Sjón s earlier writings has here been harnessed to an urgent ethical interrogation of what remains when community is destroyed, the truth-teller is exiled and when learning becomes suspect. From the Mouth of the Whale should open up a world of Icelandic writing beyond the crime novel and Reykjavik-based stories of disaffected urban youth, a world of nature and of ideas, which stands comparison with the Iceland of the Nobel Prize laureate Halldór Laxness. --Carolyne Larrington TLS

Sjón writes like a madman. His novel is by turns wildly comic and incandescent, elegant and brittle with the harsh loneliness of a world turned to winter. --Washington Post

Sjón recreates a lost world of ignorance, superstition and sheer beastliness. Jonas' s dry, lucid, witty voice makes this peculiar novel surprisingly enjoyable. --The Times

Sjón's remarkable tale imagines a delirious 17th-century Iceland swithering between mysticism and a new scientific rationalism, and it is rendered brilliantly into English in Victoria Cribb's exuberant translation. --Nick Barley

Beautiful prose, sharp observation of nature, folklore, poetry, grotesque violence, human loss, and outright comic chaos weave in and out of this confidently written novel in which the narrative tone is in perfect pitch with the story being told. --New York Journal of Books

About the Author

Sjón was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He won the Nordic Council s Literature Prize, the equivalent of the Man Booker Prize, for The Blue Fox, which was also longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2009. Sjón was nominated for an Oscar for the song lyrics he wrote for Björk in the film Dancer in the Dark. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

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on 16 March 2012
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 April 2016
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 August 2013
Format: Paperback
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on 25 July 2011
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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