Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review - The Whispering Muse by Sjon

I think this is the first time I will begin a book review by saying these words - I have no idea what I've just read.

I have no idea what I've just read and I'm glad I feel that way. The Whispering Muse by Icelandic author, poet, lyricist (he has worked with Bjork) Sjon is a slim read that will leave you with questions. Lots of questions.

It's the year 1949 and Valdimar Haraldsson, an Icelander obsessed with the concept that humans who eat seafood are superior to other humans, travels on a Danish merchant ship to pick up a massive order of raw paper. However, all is not what it seems as Haraldsson becomes caught up in the "tales" told by the second mate known as Caeneus - does everyone remember their Greek mythology studies? It is in these tales that Haraldsson learns of Caeneus' previous lives and soon, the reader is swept away into a tale befitting of the Greek gods themselves.

I came across this novel while looking for books to check out at the library; since I'd never heard of Sjon, I figured I would give him a good ol' college try. I'm glad that I did. His words, translated into English from Icelandic, weave quite a rather fetching tale, an awesome mixture of myths and legends that may in fact be true and post World War II realism. I began The Whispering Muse this morning and just now finished it. I could not put it down because, although I was both confused and understanding as to what I was reading, I HAD to know what would happen next. I have already placed Sjon's other books on my Wish List and I can't wait to read them.

If you are looking to read a book that smacks a hard left from the normal, pick up The Whispering Muse and then tell me what you think of it. I would love hear everyone's thought about this book.


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