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Red Milk

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529355925

Price: £8.99

ON SALE: 3rd February 2022

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

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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.

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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.
Asymptote Journal
A slim forensic novel to strike a chill.
Sjón's prose is appropriately sharp and precise, illuminating the murky corners of his topic.
Pippa Bailey, New Statesman
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.
Erica Banks, 4Columns
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.
Sam Anderson, New York Times
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.
David Mitchell
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.
Peter C. Baker, New York Times Book Review