This trim novel covers serious ground. It tells the story of a young, queer man working as a hustler in 1918 Reykjavik. He walks the line of insider/outsider in this closed community as Iceland deals with the end of the Great War, a volcanic eruption, political separation from Denmark, and Spanish influenza. Máni spends most of his free time at the cinema, escaping the confines of both his body and time while the world crashes around him. Sjón, the Oscar nominated lyricist, masterfully blends the real and surreal in this newly translated work!
If you haven't read The Whispering Muse, his adaption of the the story of the Argonauts, I recommend that, too!
--Cody— From Cody M. Staff Picks
The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sj n's specialty, and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is no exception. But it is also Sj n's most realistic, accessible, and heartfelt work yet. It is the story of a young man on the fringes of a society that is itself at the fringes of the world--at what seems like history's most tumultuous, perhaps ultimate moment.
M ni Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland's shores. And if the flu doesn't do it, there's always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema And there's nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape from the overwhelming threats--and adventures--of the night, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For M ni Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.
About the Author
Sjón is the author of, among other works, The Blue Fox, From the Mouth of the Whale, and The Whispering Muse. Born in Reykjavík in 1962, he is an award-winning novelist, poet, and playwright, and his novels have been translated into thirty-five languages. Alongside his work as a writer, Sjón has taken part in a wide range of art exhibitions and music events. His longtime collaboration with the Icelandic singer Björk led to an Oscar nomination for his lyrics for the Lars von Trier movie Dancer in the Dark. He lives in Reykjavík.Victoria Cribb has spent the last twenty-five years immersed in Iceland's language and literature. After reading Old Icelandic at Cambridge, she took an MA in Scandinavian Studies at University College London and a BPhil in Icelandic at the University of Iceland, before working in Iceland for a number of years as a publisher, journalist, and translator. Since 2002 she has lived in London, working as a freelance translator, and currently also teaches Icelandic at University College London and in Cambridge. Her translations include The Blue Fox by Sjón and three novels in collaboration with Olaf Olafsson, as well as countless other works of fiction and nonfiction, published in books, anthologies, and magazines.