Sjón - CoDex 1962 - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473663022
    • Publication date:26 Jul 2018
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    • ISBN:9781473663053
    • Publication date:02 May 2019

CoDex 1962

By Sjón

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A majestic, breathtaking novel by one of Iceland's greatest writers: 'an extraordinary and original writer' - AS Byatt

'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

Jósef Loewe can recall the moment of his birth in August, 1962 and everything that has happened since - or so he claims to the woman listening to the tale of his life . . .

A love story
He begins with his father, Leo, a starving Jewish fugitive in World War II Germany. In a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the maid who nurses him back to health; together they shape a piece of clay into a baby.

A crime story
Leo escapes to Iceland with the clay boy inside a hatbox, only to become embroiled in a murder mystery. It is not until 1962 that his son Jósef can be born.

A science-fiction story
In modern-day Reykjavík, a middle-aged Jósef attracts the interest of a rapacious geneticist. Now, what lies behind Jósef's tale emerges. And as the story of genesis comes full circle, we glimpse the dangerous path ahead for humankind.

In this epic novel, Sjón has woven ancient and modern material into a singular masterpiece - encompassing genre fiction, history, theology, folklore, expressionist film, poetry, comic strips, myth, drama and, of course, the rich tradition of Icelandic storytelling.

Biographical Notes

Born in Reykjavík in 1962, Sjón is an Icelandic writer whose novels The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale and Moonstone have been translated into thirty-five languages. He has won several awards including the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for The Blue Fox and has also been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, while Moonstone won the Icelandic Literary Prize and the Icelandic Booksellers' prize for Novel of the Year. Sjón 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, Sjón became the third writer - following Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell - to contribute to Future Library, a public artwork based in Norway spanning 100 years. He lives in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Victoria Cribb has translated more than twenty-five books by Icelandic authors. Her translation of Moonstone was long-listed for the Best Translated Book Award and the PEN America Translation Prize in 2016. In 2017 she received the Orðstír honorary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.

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  • ISBN: 9781473663046
  • Publication date: 26 Jul 2018
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Sceptre
Sjón is a raconteur of talent. He can flick from angelic frolics to seedy violence as if each tale were a smooth refraction of the last. He has a knack for high comedy, too. ... Victoria Cribb deserves equal praise for bringing all this zest into English so well. — Cal Revely-Calder, The Daily Telegraph
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
Sjón writes with a poet's ear and a musician's natural sense of rhythm. This extraordinary performance, consisting of three books in one, sets out to entertain, but also to prod the reader towards a stark realisation of human mortality and the games fate plays . . . The influence of Günter Grass's The Tin Drum is evident. Sjón has mastered the earlier fabulist's technique of merging history with high-speed comedy and surreal profundity. With a man made of clay and a bewildered angel struggling to get rid of a symbolic trumpet, there are shades of the Bible as well as Milton. Sjón, an heir of Mikhail Bulgakov and Laurence Sterne, eases literary references into the text as mere suggestions. With the light, fluid touch of Victoria Cribb, a resourceful, often inspired translator who is alert to Sjón's quick-change vocal register and genre-hopping artistry, the effect is hypnotic. The reader becomes a gleeful collaborator in an extravaganza in which Bosch meets Chagall, with touches of Tarantino . . . His wild, subversive imagination is among his great strengths, not only in CoDex 1962 but throughout his work . . . This wayward, exciting odyssey confronts death throughout. Nothing is quite what it seems, and there are no easy answers. Here, instead, is an artist preoccupied with questions. — Eileen Battersby, Guardian, Book of the Day
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 . . . Sjón's finale anchors his ingenuity to a moving plea for solidarity Hrolfur, the entrepreneurial geneticist, yearns to "soar heavenwards into a world where imagination is the only law of nature that matters". CoDex 1962 applauds the aim, but distrusts his means and motive. The wild flight remains a mission not for scientists but for story-tellers. — The Economist
One blindingly beautiful section comprises a list of surrealist images, the nightly dreams of a group of townspeople . . . This book is a Norse Arabian Nights. Each section is a honeycomb. Stories are nested in stories and crack open to reveal rumour and anecdote, prose poems, tendrils of myth. This abundance isn't an empty show of virtuosity but rooted in Sjon's belief in the power and obligation of old-fashioned storytelling . . . [It] 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." — Parul Sehgal, New York Times
Sure to delight the reader . . . irresistibly sweeps the reader away . . . a masterpiece, meticulously executed from the first page to the last — Sigridur Albertsdottir, National Broadcasting Service Iceland
This book is psychedelic, it's potent and it wants to consume the whole world . . . Sjón 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
Sjón's novels are brilliant collisions of history and fable, psychology and fantasy — Chris Power, Guardian
Dazzlingly funny and entertaining in sections, dramatic and tragic, light and serious, woven with the artistry we recognise in Sjón's other work ... he creates with his inexhaustible imagination a gorgeous and relevant ending — Fridrika Benonysdottir, Frettabladid
Iceland's literary spell-binder ... A tantalising smoke of marvel and magic drifts through Sjón's work — Boyd Tonkin, Economist 1843
Sjón 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 — Charles Baxter, Nation
An extraordinary and original writer — A.S. Byatt
Sceptre

Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was

Sjón
Authors:
Sjón

Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre

This is Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre's second novel. Her first, Fourrure, won five literary prizes in France. Le Dernier des Nôtres was the winner of both the Académie Francaise Grand Prix du Roman and the 2016 inaugural Filigranes prize, awarded to the book with the widest general appeal. It was on the longlist for the 2016 Renaudot prize, on the shortlist of four for the 2016 Landerneau prize, longlisted for the Prix de Flore.

Adrian Plass

Adrian Plass is one of the most-loved Christian writers in the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37¾ - which with its various sequels has sold millions of copies around the world. A somewhat bemused Anglican, Adrian and his wife Bridget live in the north of England travel widely to speak in churches, prisons, schools, and at festivals and literary events in the UK and around the world.

Alex Valente

ALEX VALENTE is a European half-Yorkshire, half-Tuscan freelance translator. He has researched comics, poetry, and their translation, co-edits the Norwich Radical, regularly translates for Italian literary agencies, and does voluntary work for non-profit organisations. He's on Twitter as @DrFumetts.

Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lester was born to an American father and a British mother, and educated in the US, the UK, China and Italy. She spent twenty-five years working, writing and raising her children in Japan and Singapore before relocating to the UK in 2016. She is the author of the novel Lillian on Life and has had short stories published in Ecotone, Good Housekeeping, Synaesthesia and Barrelhouse.

Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, the Rosebud Award, and the Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Thriller Award, the Anthony Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed for a feature film. Eskens lives with his wife, Joely, in out-state Minnesota, where he has been a practicing criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he has lived in Spain, Japan, France and Ireland, and currently lives in Somerset.

Andy Jones

In one form or another, Andy has always been a writer. At school, he passed notes in class and scribbled rude words on lampposts. At University, he wrote a PhD in biochemistry and forged tickets to various balls. And as an advertising copywriter, has written commercials for everything from baby food to booze. But it wasn't until he was well into his thirties that Andy stared writing fiction. If he could write a letter his younger self, it would urge him to stop messing about and get on with it. FOUR is his fourth novel, but should probably be his tenth. Find Andy on Twitter and Instagram @andyjonesauthor, and Facebook /andyjonesauthor.

Andy Riley

Andy Riley is the author/artist of the Bunny Suicides books, Great Lies to Tell Small Kids, Selfish Pigs, D.I.Y. Dentistry, Roasted, Wine Makes Mummy Clever, Beer Makes Daddy Strong and lots of other stuff. His scriptwriting work includes Black Books, The Great Outdoors, Little Britain, Hyperdrive, Armstrong and Miller, Smack the Pony, Gnomeo and Juliet, and The Armando Ianucci Shows.For more information and cartoons, or if you want to talk to him, go to www.misterandyriley.com

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down. She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over eighty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards, and Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anne Buist

Anne Buist is chair of Women's Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and author of the psychological thrillers, Medea's Curse, Dangerous to Know and This I Would Kill For. annebuist.comfacebook.com/anneebuist@anneebuist

Anthony Trevelyan

Anthony Trevelyan was born in Lancashire. He read English at Trinity College, Oxford, before going on to further studies at Lancaster University. Currently he lives with his wife near Manchester, where he takes part in performance events such as Flim Nite and First Draft. He works as a teacher of English and Creative Writing at a sixth form college in Stockport. His first novel, The Weightless World, was published by Galley Beggar Press in 2015 and was longlisted for the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize.

Antonia Hodgson

Antonia Hodgson's first novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, won the CWA Historical Dagger 2014 and was shortlisted forthe Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year, the John Creasey Dagger for Best FirstNovel and the HWA Debut Crown. It was also a Richard & Judy and WaterstonesBook Club selection. Her second book, The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins, was published in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim.Antonia was born and grew up in Derby and studied English at the University ofLeeds. She lives in London, where she works as an editor. 2

Arnold van de Laar

Arnold van de Laar is a surgeon in the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam, specialising in laparoscopic surgery. Born in 1969 in the Dutch town of 's-Hertogenbosch, van de Laar became fascinated by how the human body works in school biology lessons and went on to study medicine at the Belgian University of Leuven. Having travelled the world - the Himalayas, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir, and extensively in Africa - van de Laar took his first job as general surgeon on the Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten. He started writing pieces on surgical history in the Dutch medical journal Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Heelkunde in 2009. He now lives in Amsterdam with his wife and two children where, a true Dutchman, he cycles to work every day. This is his first book.

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds, The Railwayman's Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons. The Railwayman's Wife was honoured with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books.She lives in Brisbane, Australia.ashleyhay.com.au

Becky Chambers

Becky Chambers is the author of the Wayfarers books, which currently include The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, among others, and won the Prix Julia Verlanger in 2017. She grew up in a family heavily involved in space science, and hopes to see Earth from orbit one day.

Benedict Wells

Benedict Wells was born in 1984 in Munich. At the age of six, he started his journey through three Bavarian boarding schools. Upon graduating school in 2003, he moved to Berlin, where he decided against an academic education and instead started to dedicate his time to writing. In 2016 he won the European Union Prize for Literature for his third novel, The End of Loneliness, which has been in the German bestseller list for over a year. After years of living in Barcelona, Wells has recently returned to Berlin.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in July 2016. He was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015. Before this he was the Editor of the Spectator, Member of Parliament for Henley on Thames, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He is the author of many books, most recently the international bestseller The Churchill Factor. Other titles include Johnson's Life of London (re-issued as The Spirit of London), Have I Got Views for You and Dream of Rome.

Brian D. McLaren

Brian McLaren is a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed speaker and outspoken advocate for 'a new kind of Christianity'. Named one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Evangelical Christians, McLaren was a pastor for over 20 years. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programmes, and an in-demand blogger on faith and public policy (brianmclaren.net). @brianmclaren

Callie Bates

Callie Bates is a writer, harpist and certified harp therapist, sometimes artist, and nature nerd. When she's not creating, she's hitting the trails or streets and exploring new places. She lives in the Upper Midwest. THE MEMORY OF FIRE is the sequel to her debut fantasy novel, THE WAKING LAND. She occasionally writes nonfiction. Her essays have appeared in Shambhala Sun, The Best Buddhist Writing 2012, All Things Girl and online journals.