Sjón's policy of omission-of drama, psychology, violence, grandeur of any kind-results in a delicious tension. He tempts us to expect so much of the novel, and though he never provides the relief of clean culminations, he manages to keep the reader wanting.
A slim forensic novel to strike a chill.
Sjón's prose is appropriately sharp and precise, illuminating the murky corners of his topic.
This is a landscape proper to a child's imagination, dreamlike but solid, with all the pronounced lucidity and wild agency that objects and colors assume . . . Sjón makes us think again about what empathy can - and frequently enough simply can't - achieve.
Like Iceland itself, Sjón's books are simultaneously tiny and huge, weird and normal, ancient and modern. Reading them feels like listening to that story of the beached whale: a wild invention that is actually a straight-faced confession. His books dance - with light, quick steps, never breaking eye contact - all over the line between the mythic and the mundane.
What Sjón leaves out of his work is as powerful as what he puts in. His fiction never seems to break into a sweat, yet it takes you a long, long way.
The chapters move like the prose equivalent of flip-book images, quick and evocative . . . Sjón's story, based on research into a real-life band of Icelandic neo-Nazis, dovetails nicely with current preoccupations about the resurgence of fascism . . . By tarrying for a while with the everyday - the ultimate site of real politics - Sjón gets at how endlessly interesting it can be, and how much it can contain and conceal.