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From the Mouth of the Whale

From the Mouth of the Whale The year is 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 burnt J

  • Title: From the Mouth of the Whale
  • Author: Sjón Victoria Cribb
  • ISBN: 9781846590832
  • Page: 222
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 burnt J nas P lmason, a poet and self taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate Banished to a barren island, J 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 burnt J nas P lmason, a poet and self taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate Banished to a barren island, J nas recalls 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.From the Mouth of the Whale is a magical evocation of an enlightened mind and a vanished age.Sj n is a celebrated Icelandic poet and novelist His novels have been translated into twenty five languages and include From the Mouth of the Whale and The Whispering Muse both by Telegram Sj n won the Nordic Council Literary Prize, the equivalent of the Man Booker Prize, for The Blue Fox and Best Icelandic Novel for The Whispering Muse in 2005 Also a songwriter, he has written lyrics for Bj rk, including for her eight studio album, Biophilia.

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      Posted by:Sjón Victoria Cribb
      Published :2018-08-20T22:45:44+00:00

    1 thought on “From the Mouth of the Whale

    1. This book is beautifully written. It's lyrical. It picks you up and carries you along. You are swept through streams of consciousness, and through herbal medicinal books, and then through third person narrative. You switch from one to the other seamlessly. It's a masterpiece in that regard.But I am left with one overwhelming question.What the fuck was that all about?I mean I get it. It's the story of Jonás the Learned and his exile. It's about the amazing things he does or witnesses before he i [...]

    2. Islantilaisen kirjailijan Sjónin uusin kirja Valaan suusta on historiallinen kertomus 1600-luvulla eläneestä Jón Guđmunddsson Oppineesta eli Jonas Pálmasonista. 1600-luku oli noitavainojen ja puhdasoppineisuuden aikaa. Noituuteen liittyviä keinoja käytettiin vielä mm. henkien manaamisessa ja parantamistyössä. Jón Oppineella oli toivomus olla kuuluisa oppinut, joten hänet sai myös manaamaan henkiä.Pian Jón Oppinut huomasi olevansa yksinäiselle saarelle vangittuna ja harhaoppisuud [...]

    3. A pretty solid novel which - after not being particularly impressed by The Blue Fox and The Whispering Muse - gave me some understanding of all the fuss about Sjón.It's also a satisfying read for the early modern European history buff, given that in English we don't hear much about seventeenth-century Iceland and Denmark without looking for it. From the Mouth of the Whale is based on the life-story of Icelandic autodidact Jón the Learned, here renamed Jónas, who, like many famous thinkers of [...]

    4. Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria CribbWithdrawn from Tower Hamlets LibrariesDescription: 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 burnt.Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate. Banished to a barren island, Jonas recalls his gift for cu [...]

    5. From the raw, volcanic landscape of early seventeenth century Iceland, with ancient myths of mermen and unicorns tumbling from its fissures; a land of endless nights, burning snow and whales the size of mountains; Sjon has crafted an extraordinary novel, which has been deservedly longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.'From The Mouth Of The Whale' conjures a precipitous landscape upon which early Lutheranism has taken a violent hold, making the population paranoid of old pagan ritu [...]

    6. I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's early reviewers program.I feel completely unqualified to review this because I've never read anything like it before and I didn't understand half of it. It was difficult for me to piece a time line together or separate fact from fantasy or figure out even the basics of what was going on -- all the more so since the book had very few paragraphs and also, for the most part, lacked proper sentences. Most sentences ended with an ellipsis instea [...]

    7. A confusing book. I read it for my book group without any idea what to expect. So far as I can recall this my first foray into the world Icelandic fiction. I say fiction, ‘From the Mouth of the Whale’ is a historical novel and is based on the life of Jón the Learned here renamed Jónas Pálmason. The Prelude is a variation on the story of the fall of Lucifer. Then follows part 1 Autumn Equinox, 1635, and through to part 4, Spring Equinox, 1639. Through these four years we find out about Jó [...]

    8. Sjon's first novel to be translated into English was The Blue Fox. It was a spare eighty pages long and took the author two years to write. In an interview he said of the process The first year was more or less spent researching 19th century Iceland and reading about the different subjects that make up the story, such as fox hunting, accidents at sea, avalanches, burial rites, the care or abuse of mentally handicapped people, opium smoking, cravats and bow-ties (late Byronesque or otherwise).Sjo [...]

    9. In the prelude to this tale we follow a hunter on his way home from hunting some colossal and huge tusked boar, “the most savage brute the north has ever snorted from it’s icy nostrils”, although the traditional way is to leave the carcass where it fell, the hunter is carrying it home to demonstrate to his father, which of his sons labours the hardest. Home, we the reader, learn is called “Seventh Heaven” and all is not well, the gate guards are silent, there’s no sound of merrymakin [...]

    10. Call it Sjón-fatigue, I found myself having a really hard time getting through "From the Mouth of the Whale." Granted, it is a longer novel than "The Blue Fox" and "The Whispering Muse," but reading three books of his back-to-back was probably not such a great idea.As with the previous two, the story is captivating so the fault doesn't lie here. In fact, I'm not sure if it's possible to pinpoint an exact 'fault' since all the elements were in place but they just didn't gel as well as I hoped it [...]

    11. The author chose a difficult subject, four years of the early seventeenth century Iceland before Icelanders are limited to trade only with the Danes. Catholicism in its ritual and its charity has been superseded by Lutheranism. The former is secretly practiced but lack of avenues for charity worsens unfortunate years. Black arts (sorcery) is condemned yet scientific practices and views by contrast to superstitious beliefs are considered suspect. The surrealism and stream-of-consciousness narrati [...]

    12. One of the most fascinating novels I've read in some time. From the Mouth of the Whale is the meeting-place of surrealism and paganism, very Icelandic. It's the story of the exile of an alchemist and exorcist, of his understandings of the strangeness of the world. Central to that understanding is the interconnectedness of all things. But this wholeness isn't just that "All is One" kind of New Age epiphany (or even Emerson, for that matter). It becomes a rationale (without being didactic) for a s [...]

    13. I had no idea what to expect from this, but knew that the author was an award-winning lyricist who worked with Bjork. You occupy the mental space of an Icelandic poet and healer in 1635, and you will not always know what he's going on about so feverishly. The book does an excellent job of recreating the feeling of picking up a strange artifact you have no hope of fully understanding, and there were times when I almost gave up, alienatedbut Jonas is plucky and earnest, peppering the narrative wit [...]

    14. set in mid-17th century iceland, sjón's from the mouth of the whale (rökkurbýsnir) is perhaps a little more enigmatic than either the blue fox or the whispering muse - but surely no less gratifying. the icelandic poet and novelist (and björk collaborator) composes works that hybridize contemporary and surrealist elements (incorporating some icelandic folklore for good measure), resulting in enchanting novels characterized by lyrical, melodious prose. from the mouth of the whale follows the f [...]

    15. The Whispering Muse hinted at the kind of wild, hallucinatory epic Sjón was capable of (cleverly restrained in that particular novel), and he lets loose with it in From The Mouth of the Whale. Mythology, Christian epic, natural history, medieval Icelandic history and the whole, wide, boundless mind of a banished healer/visionary/poet are among the elements that make up this strange and haunting novel. Told mostly from his exile on a lonely island in 1635, Jonas Palmason's scattered, hungry thou [...]

    16. Really impossible to describe – this is one strange but truly wonderful book! The prelude (which is very different from the book itself) had me instantly hooked – but when I hit Chapter I, I was struck by the number of long Icelandic names and obscure references (cultural, biblical, historical). Despite the strong start, I suddenly wondered if I would be able to finish it. Within a few pages, however, I was completely immersed again. The power of this book is in the author’s power of descr [...]

    17. "The realm of the specific is what provides you with stories, and hopefully, if they are well told, they'll speak to people everywhere."[Sjon, from an interview with David K Gestsson]Thus, this wonderful tale set in early 17th century Iceland, succeeds in reaching readers over time and cultures. It is told in the voice of Jonas the Learned, a self taught polymath, whose lingering pre-Reformation sensibilities set him at odds with the new Lutheran order. The violent upheavals of the Reformation w [...]

    18. This is another book I read spread over a few weeks and which i finished to dot the i's and cross the t's as it turned out to be disappointing and far from what I expected (a blow me away novel, possibly a candidate to a top 10) from both reviews and the sample.I found myself reading the novel and not making any real sense of it - i would understand of course each word, each sentence or phrase and each paragraph, but nothing cohered into a whole; maybe it's the author's style, maybe the translat [...]

    19. The cover of the book has pull quotes from Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt, the WaPo and the Independent, and though I don't usually attend to them, in this case, they're are true. From the Mouth of the Whale IS "kaleidoscopic and mesmerizing, an epic made mad, wildly comic and incandescent, hallucinatory, lyrical, extraordinary." It's a captivating meditation that enfolds you totally into its world-- I could smell Iceland on it's pages, and was reminded of the time we've spent there- the quiet, the gras [...]

    20. I read the prologue and couldn't go on. It felt like something an angry teenage heavy metal fan might have written to "shock" his sixth grade teacher. Silly and pompous.Bummer.

    21. In 17th Century Iceland, Jónas Pálmason's strange way of life casts him into a suspicion. His old pagan beliefs, superstitions, extensive learning, and naturalism are believed by many to be sorcery, and so he is sent into exile.When I saw the description of this book, I knew that I had to read it. I have read few books about Iceland, and certainly never one about Iceland in the 1600's. Also, the publisher is known for printing strange, atypical books that I more often than not find myself lovi [...]

    22. Oh, I wanted to like this book. Oh, I tried to like this book… but it did not work for me. I do believe that there is a right time for a book, and this one maybe came at the wrong time. I usually don’t mind “stream of consciousness” but I really found it hard to follow it here. The narrator’s voice jumped and changed from long fantastic flows into historical accounts (I did like those – they were a reprieve) to mystical meanderings. I would get lost and as much as I tried and paid at [...]

    23. I think that reading the bulk of this while vacationing in Iceland earned it an extra star. I was very much interested in Jonah, however, and the story of his trials and wanderings. It just missed emotionally, I think.

    24. This is the second book of Sjón's that I've read and I hope to read more. I spent a week in Iceland a few years ago and I'm fascinated by the place. There's an epic emptiness to it. I've read a few books by Icelandic authors and apart from Indridason's thrillers, I wonder what it would be like to read them without knowing Iceland. Nature has the upper hand in almost all the Icelandic novels I've read. There's no cosy fireplace, it's man against a climate that is not kind. Here, the main charact [...]

    25. An Icelandic daydream of florid prose. Sjon's novel may well have lost some of its mystique in translation yet this does not hold 'From the mouth of the whale' back from charming the reader with strange snippets from a superstitious time. This book is not much for plot; rather it should be read with patience, allowing the reader to drift into the wistful fairytale that is Iceland.

    26. Unlike anything else I ever read : strange - lyrical -brutal - magical. Set in Iceland in 1635. Jonas Palmason, poet and healer, is exiled for heretical conduct. " A magical evocation of an enlightened mind in a vanished age. " Highly recommended

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