Tuesday 26 March 2019

Book Review: The Whispering Muse by Sjón (Literary Fiction)

Title: The Whispering Muse
Author: Sjón

Publication Date: 2012 (2005)
Literary Fiction
Bought Copy


The year is 1949 and Valdimar Haraldsson, an eccentric Icelander with elevated ideas about the influence of fish consumption on Nordic civilisation, has had the singular good fortune to be invited to join a Danish merchant ship on its way to the Black Sea.

Among the crew is the mythical hero Caeneus, disguised as the second mate. Every evening after dinner he entrances his fellow travellers with the tale of how he sailed with the fabled vessel the Argo on the Argonauts’ quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

The Whispering Muse is another quirky tale from Icelandic author Sjón. As with all Sjón's works, the prose is lyrical and the plot full of magical realism. I enjoyed the idea of telling the story of Jason and the Argonauts (parts of it, anyway) from the perspective of Caeneus, and it was interesting to see him juxtaposed with the rather eccentric Haraldsson. I really enjoyed the story, which I finished in a single sitting; however, this particular book didn't captivate me as deeply as some of Sjón's other works. Nonetheless, I am giving it 4.5 stars, which I would round up to a five rather than down to a four.

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