In 17th-century Iceland, the healer Jónas Pálmason reflects on his eventful life from exile on a barren island. Dream and memory mingle in a tale that resembles an epic poem, encompassing human cruelty, love of family, and the transcendent sustenance of the natural world.— Reva
From the Mouth of the Whale is an Icelandic saga for the modern age. The year is 1635. Iceland is a world darkened by superstition, poverty, and cruelty. Men of science marvel over a unicorn's horn, poor folk worship the Virgin in secret, and both books and men are burned.
Sjon introduces us to Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, banished to a barren island for heretical conduct, as he recalls his gift for curing "female maladies," his exorcism of a walking corpse on the remote Snjafjoll coast, the frenzied massacre of innocent Basque whalers at the hands of local villagers, and the deaths of three of his children. Palmason's story echoes across centuries and cultures, an epic tale that makes us see the world anew.
About the Author
Sjon is the author of, among other works, The Blue Fox and The Whispering Muse. Born in Reykjavik in 1962, he is an award-winning novelist, poet, and playwright. His novelshave been translated into twenty-five languages. Also a lyricist, he has written songs for Bjork, including for her most recent project, Biophilia, and was nominated for an Oscar for the lyrics he cowrote (with Lars von Trier) for Dancer in the Dark. He lives in Reykjavik.
“Sjón is the trickster that makes the world, and he is achingly brilliant. From the Mouth of the Whale is strange and wonderful, an epic made mad, made extraordinary.” —Junot Díaz
“Hallucinatory, lyrical, by turns comic and tragic, this extraordinary novel should make Sjón an international name. His evocation of seventeenth-century Iceland through the eyes of a man born before his time has stuck in my mind like nothing else I’ve read in the last year.” —Hari Kunzru