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‘A book like a blade of light, searching out and illuminating the darkest corners of history . . . It’s vivid, unputdownable, alive, and written with unerring artfulness and subtlety.’ Neel Mukherjee

Gunnar Kampen grows up in Iceland during the Second World War in a household fiercely opposed to Hitler and Nazism. At nineteen he seems set for a conventional, dutiful life. And yet in the spring of 1958, he founds a covert, anti-Semitic nationalist party, a cause that will take him on a clandestine mission to England from which he never returns.

Inspired by one of the ringleaders of a little-known neo-Nazi group that was formed in Iceland in the 1950s, Sjón’s portrait of an ardent fascist is as thought-provoking as it is disturbing. As this taut and fascinating novel suggests, the seeds of extremism can be hard to detect – and the ideology of the far-right remains dangerously potent.

Reviews

SELECT PRAISE FOR CoDex 1962: '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 . . . has mastered (Günter Grass)'s technique of merging history with high-speed comedy and surreal profundity . . . an heir of Mikhail Bulgakov and Laurence Sterne, eases literary references into the text as mere suggestions . . . His wild, subversive imagination is among his great strengths
Eileen Battersby, Guardian
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
The Economist
[CoDex 1962] 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
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
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 Baxer, The Nation