A majestic, breathtaking novel by one of Iceland's greatest writers: 'an extraordinary and original writer' - AS Byatt
'A masterpiece . . . I challenge any author to top it!' Sigridur Alberstsdottir, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.
Jósef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay - carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany.
Taking refuge in a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the young woman who nurses him back to health and together they shape the clay into a baby. But en route to safety in Iceland, he is robbed of the ring needed to bring the child to life. It is not until 1962 that Jósef can be 'born', only to grow up with a rare disease. Fifty-three years on, it leads him into the hands of a power-hungry Icelandic geneticist, just when science and politics are threatening to lead us all down a dark, dangerous road.
At once playful and profoundly serious, this remarkable novel melds multiple genres into a unique whole: a mind-bending read and a biting, timely attack on nationalism.
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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- Publication date:
26 Jul 2018
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