From the Mouth of the Whale

Whale tries to 'swallow' South African tour operator in feeding frenzy
Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online From the Mouth of the Whale file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with From the Mouth of the Whale book. Happy reading From the Mouth of the Whale Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF From the Mouth of the Whale at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF From the Mouth of the Whale Pocket Guide.

He can draw anatomical charts and maps, both of which are in high demand, but the Protestant reformers that have taken over the land find cause to brand him a witch for the research he does into the ancient customs of Iceland. For the rest of his life, he will be either on the run or imprisoned or living among the educated classes of Denmark as an admired equal. But for the most part he will suffer at the hands of those who fear his knowledge, knowledge that is very much a part of his time. The novel is interspersed with his comments on natural history, and modern readers will find them to be equal parts scientific observation and folklore.

Jonas narrates the story from his final island prison. He has returned from Denmark expecting all charges against him to be dropped, only to find himself again in the hands of his enemies. When they agree to send him back to the island rather than to a dungeon, he looks forward finding his wife waiting for him there. Instead he finds only her bones. The story of their first meeting, which occurs during a funeral interrupted by an eclipse, captures the innate ignorance and savageness of their society.

I was as bewldered as the dogs that howled, the cats that hissed, the ravens that crawled along the ground, the cows that wandered dazed in the fields. I was as unfortunate as the rest, as unmanned by the dread of what catastrophe this eclipse might bring, what terrible tidings it might portend, what loss of life, what pestilence would now wash up from the sea on to our rock, what heresies, what insanity; indeed, I was as confounded as those that ran weeping round the yard or pressed their faces to the muddy paving slabs, tore off their clothes and any hair they could get hold of, many vomiting in mid-prayer They swung the corpse's mottled limbs back and forth until it appeared to be raising its wizened arms to heaven It did not take a great physician to realise that the old man was as thoroughly dead as he had been but a short time before.

People now began to crowd around the threesome with their pathetic puppet During this event Sigridur, Jonas's future wife, explains the means of predicting eclipses, science she has worked out for herself through observation and a natural inclination for math. They are in love. The chirping of small birds was stilled, the baying of the dogs was silenced, the people on the turf roof ceased shaking the corpse, a hush descended on the countryside and I felt suddenly cold. High above the Earth the disc of the moon completed its shape on the orb of the sun and in the same instant something was completed inside me.

Neither Sigridur nor I looked up when the gable gave way with a loud crack beneath the weight of the corpse-bearers. Jonas's story will also involve the successful exorcism of an angry ghost and the tragic tale of massacred Basque whalers at the hands of ingnorent Icelandic villagers manipulated by their venal community leaders.

It's hard to imagine that Sjon will become a beloved voice of Icelanders, but his unflinching vision of meanness and ignorance goes beyond a critique of his homeland's history. He opens his novel with a scene placed in heaven. Lucifer has returned from a successful hunt to find the heavenly household in disarray. I looked at the Father, who was lounging at ease on his throne He examined something small in His palm You must bow down before him like your brothers Quick as lightning, you shoved your hand under your buttocks, fetched a fistful of whatever you found there, and raised it to your mouth.

I've noticed than when I really like something, I tend to quote a lot. Dec 28, Parrish Lantern rated it it was amazing Shelves: kindle , translation , fiction , on-my-shelves , myths-fables-fairytales. The hunter, we learn, is Lucifer and he is standing before his father who is holding something that is outlawed in heaven: there laying in his hand was man. Our Father rested His fingertip against your spine and tilted His hand carefully so that you uncurled and rolled over on to your back.

I stepped forward to take a better look at you. You scratched your nose with your curled fist, sneezed, oh so sweetly, and fixed on me those egotistical eyes — mouth agape. And I saw that this mouth would never be satisfied, that its teeth would never stop grinding, that its tongue would never tire of being bathed in the life-blood of other living creatures.

Then your lips moved. He refuses to bow before what he sees as his fathers pet and is cast out of heaven, but leaves Man a parting gift — a vision of himself. As the book unfolds we learn of his life, of how as a youth, who having learnt from the writings of a Dr Bombastus Paracelsus , was acquainted with and knew the prescription for most female maladies. He bartered that knowledge for Ravens heads, which according to Bombastus, contains a special stone that can cure most blood illnesses, called a bezoar.

At twenty years of age he was an excellent scribe and seems to have been well known for paintings and carvings, although nothing has survived to the present. I also learned that in King Christian IV of Denmark decreed that all sorcery, whether white or black, was evil and illegal. He also decreed that it was to be harshly suppressed throughout his domain. It was even debated whether it was a suitable or legitimate subject for scientific study. Aug 21, Lee rated it really liked it. 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 , 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, alienated The book is not plot-driven, you won't rush through the pages, and Sjon doesn't so much cater to the reader as you may be used to, you may not 'identify' with anyone.

You become the reader-as-would-be-historian; sift through this precious, solitary account for what must be preserved. The book opens with a strange folkloric Christian story that is never revisited or explained; it may still be my favorite part of the book. Aug 13, Bradley Skaught rated it it was amazing. Told mostly from his exile on a lonely island in , Jonas Palmason's scattered, hungry thoughts weave folkore, superstition, science and Christian lore into a massive tapestry reflecting all the inner workings of the world.

His life is almost ceaselessly tragic and his trials heartbreaking, the world around him cruel and ignorant, yet through the wild, endless flow of faith and almost animistic mystical experience he records and transcends his trials. From The Mouth of the Whale is an absolutely transporting read, almost prose poetry at times as Palmason's thoughts run wild and his visions unfold. Sep 20, Carolyn rated it it was amazing Shelves: icelandic-fiction. 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.

WHALE MOUTH HITS TUFACE AND OTHERS

The violent upheavals of the Reformation w "The realm of the specific is what provides you with stories, and hopefully, if they are well told, they'll speak to people everywhere. The violent upheavals of the Reformation were suffered as much in Iceland as elsewhere, outlawing traditions of the past and condemning their practitioners as sorcerers. Jonas is condemned to exile on a barren island, and has lost nearly everything except his memories and his delight in observing the natural world. His observations meander between the fantastical and the scientific, the surreal to the historical.

Many of Jonas's memories are of horrific cruelty, abuse of power, and dreadful personal loss and pain, but through all this, his humanity shines through, undimmed by what fate has dealt him.

Follow the Irish Examiner

The annual migration of billions of Sardinops sagax , more commonly known as South African pilchards or sardines, is a big draw for predators , especially the Cape gannet, a beautiful, cream-colored seabird, and the common dolphin. He recalls his childhood, witnessing the secret folk-worship of the Virgin, and, later, describes his downfall as a "Schoolmaster of Necromancy". Menu go. Reporter: In a similar encounter just last summer nearby, this humpback whale making a splash just feet from a boat, but none of these encounters have been closer than rainier's. Set the sail; out oars; the helm! Anne Sewell.

The text is not always easy, with the narrative veering off into the surreal, and I had to skip a couple of pages describing the massacre of the Basque whalers. However, the stunning poetic imagery alone elevated this book to the heights of modern writing. Nov 04, Erin rated it really liked it. 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. His choice of language makes the characters and the environment so tangible that the reader can easily connect despite the distance in space and time. Jonas may have believed that carrying a piece of coral would protect you from lightning, trolls, and stomach ailments AND make you popular!

When he was dealt a blow, I felt it. When his hopes were raised, I was rooting for him. While certain bits were confusing and I admit I had to read them over more than once, I also reread passages just because of how beautifully written they were. 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 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 translation but most likely it's me not caring a jot about Iceland 's, ice fishing and the like and the author not succeeding in making me care as great authors do about the unlikeliest subjects to cater to one's taste see Hari Kunzru and UFO's, Lawrence Norfolk and 17th century cooking or Hilary mantel and Anne Boleyn for recent books that I ranked in my top 10 and which if you asked me before hand, do you want to read a novel about that, I would answer, no interest Anyway if the subject matter from the blurb seems to tickle your fancy try this book as I would not claim it is badly written, just at a large angle with my taste Jan 19, Erica rated it it was amazing.

The cover of the book has pull quotes from Junot Diaz, A. 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. I want to read it again to catch all that I missed before. Now I've overblown it, but that's ok, because it means people will read it to argue with me. Jun 26, Anna Kuhl rated it liked it. I am not philosophical enough for this book, and yet. It was strange and sad and I enjoyed it.

May 04, Malcolm added it Shelves: unfinished. 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. Apr 04, Molly rated it really liked it. I feel like if i read this a second time i would move it up to 5 stars! It is very layered and interesting and i plan on reading it again. Dec 27, Marthe Bijman rated it really liked it. I went to Iceland in August in the company of a Geologist to see volcanoes and other spectacular geological formations, not to go look at the places where Game of Thrones was filmed.

I wondered how well Iceland would match his descriptions of the towns and land I went to Iceland in August in the company of a Geologist to see volcanoes and other spectacular geological formations, not to go look at the places where Game of Thrones was filmed.

I wondered how well Iceland would match his descriptions of the towns and landscapes in From the Mouth of the Whale. What I observed changed my understanding of the book, which, I admit, I had found very difficult to read. He rambles on in a surrealistic stream-of-consciousness monologue, sometimes talking to birds, or the sea, or dead people. Some book sleuths have been able to trace the island and the part of the coast where it is located, but it must be said that the mere reference to an off-shore Icelandic island is enough to conjure up any number of images of lonely, barren, harsh, sea-bird-filled, cold, miserable rock outcrops.

Any island is like any other island The island, as well as the other places mentioned in the novel, could be anywhere in Iceland. When you drive to the north of the island, east or west, you frequently see the mouths of fjords, the inlets and the beaches dotted with islands that are rocky outcrops, some connected by causeways to the mainland, but many just out there, like pointy silhouettes on the horizon.

Every little village and hamlet has its church, and often, every house has a waterfall behind it, and a church beside it. And nearly every bit of coast has an island or rocky outcrop offshore. Particularly when you go off the main route and cross the centre of the island over the lava fields, driving over the ice fields and past volcanoes, you recognize the hardness of this land. It is what it is, and what it has always been, apart from the natural forests that were all cut down: rumbling and smoking, hard and arid, cold and windy at the best of times, with mean-looking sheep.

What is there, like a big, raw fist in your face, is the sheer, naked personification of the Icelandic landscape. This is place as a persona, with a vengeance. Apr 27, David Fuller rated it really liked it. He also collaborated with pop star Bjrk on the lyrics for her music in Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark. Like any good Icelandic saga writer, or modern magical realist, he blends fact and fantasy. It gracefully captures the spirit of the age.

Sorcery and alchemy are slowly, and uneasily, giving way to the sciences; in in Iceland, a learned man is one who catalogues the known animals and can put to rest an undead spirit. Palmason falls in love with his wife in part for her astronomical observations and predictions. I dare not ask her; women think men ought to remember that sort of thing.

See a Problem?

One such mission is putting down a troublesome corpse come back to life, described in typically vivid detail. It has "white skin, with a fist-sized bruise from the temple to the right-hand corner of its mouth, mouldering cheeks, hair straggling claw-like over its forehead above rolling, red, bestial eyes. His reputation briefly saves him from his exile, when Danish scholar Ole Worm summons him to Copenhagen to share his knowledge.

After acclimatizing himself to the frantic pace of urban life, Palmason effortlessly debunks one of Denmark's royal treasures: a unicorn horn that actually came from a narwhal. One never becomes used to it. Despite his uneasy peace in the end, Palmason finds release in the mouth of a whale. It is a fittingly surreal final journey for a moving and often humorous tale. Nov 22, Jori Richardson rated it liked it Recommends it for: readers who appreciate stream-of-consciousness, those interested in Icelandic history.

Shelves: historical-fiction , writer-from-iceland , something-different. 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 's. Also, the publisher is known for printing strange, atypical books that I more often than not find myself loving. Well, "From the Mouth of the Whale" was indeed strange, though not for the same reasons as the other books I had read.

It was a stream of consciousness type of book, which I normally either love or hate. Here, I hated it. It prevented me from becoming absorbed in the book. Whenever I would put it down and then pick it back up again, I would find the style jarring, and it would take about 50 pages to get used to it.

By then, it would be time to stop - and so it went until I finished, feeling sore as if I had just commenced a bumpy ride. It's a shame, because if not for the distracting writing style, I think that I could have really enjoyed this book. I think that naturalism can be quite interesting, especially in a historical setting.

And Sjon often included intricate plot descriptions of animals that directly related to the story or characters. Also, I loved the opening scene, in which Lucifer first meets man.

From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón - review

Sjon's version of a young Satan is a son of God, which I found intriguing. Satan is Jesus' brother? It sounds like a story. Satan's foreboding feeling regarding man, predicting their selfishness and insistence on destroying the rest of God's creation, was apt and insightful. I was annoyed that Lucifer never again appeared in the story, and his cameo seemed irrelevant except for proving a point.

There were other enticingly interesting little things scattered throughout the book. Learned scholars study "unicorn's horns" and "mermaid sculptures," actually narwhale tusks and coral. Occasional paragraphs about natural things pepper the story, almost always intertwined with magic. Everything I felt mildly interesting in this book never led to anything, and it was never enough to overpower the distaste I felt toward the writing style. I wouldn't recommend this book unless you personally love stream of consciousness novels.

  • Real Estate Tax Deed Investing: How We Made Over One Million Dollars in Two Years.
  • From the Mouth of the Whale - Wikipedia.
  • From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón;
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (The Facts)!
  • Between Psychology and Psychotherapy (Psychology Revivals): A Poetics of Experience.
  • Entre les bras des amants réunis (Poésie/Rafale) (French Edition).
  • Luka e o Fogo da Vida (Portuguese Edition).

If so, there is plenty to be enjoyed. However, if you, like me, find the writing style more likely to range from distracting to infuriating, it would perhaps be best to skip this one. Jul 31, Rosana rated it liked it Shelves: bookish-schallenge , 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 would get lost and as much as I tried and paid attention, I c Oh, I wanted to like this book. I would get lost and as much as I tried and paid attention, I could not find my way around this story.

Other reviewers mentioned that they never read anything like this book before. I do agree with them there, but a novelty is not necessary a pleasurable experience. On the contrary, they are cursed and banned by the very people that they could have helped. I would still recommend this book, but only to those people that can stare at a disco light without getting a migraine, or yet a seizure. The psychedelic feeling would be very much alike, I assure you.

Feb 08, Jamie Bradway rated it really liked it.

  1. Das Deutsche Kaiserreich in seinen universalen und nationalen Beziehungen (German Edition)!
  2. THe OFFICIAL INFORMATION SITE ABOUT THE ICELANDIC AUTHOR SJÓN!
  3. Navigation menu!
  4. Let‘s Say Goodbye (German Edition).
  5. In the Mouth of a Whale | Lapham’s Quarterly.
  6. Crime and punishment in Iceland.

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.

Main navigation

View all 3 comments. Scene: Me: Wow this book sounds interesting, and doesn't mention anything about magical realism! Me: I didn't The writing in this is always good and occasionally gorgeous, I enjoyed the setting of 17th century Icelan 2. The writing in this is always good and occasionally gorgeous, I enjoyed the setting of 17th century Iceland and Denmark, and I don't think there was really an issue with this beyond the fact that it was unexpectedly in a genre and style I almost never enjoy, so take the 2. Also I wish there had been like We briefly meet Jonas's wife, get a few pages of her backstory and how they meet, and that's it.

From the Mouth of the Whale: A Novel

Plus her backstory is way more interesting than the main plot of the book so I kind of wish this book had just been about her instead. 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 character has been exiled to an island off the coast of Iceland, so you can imagine the world is not doing him many favors.

The story is beautifully told, I can only imagine the translator has done an incredible job as I don't read Icelandic, and probably never will. Since everything is connected, the world is inherently and ubiquitously strange but always familiar. Interconnectedness makes for the chimerical, the hybrid, the grotesque. Let it all run together so swiftly that it cannot be separated again And God is the gaps that connect everything.

But in praising this lyrical panentheistic novel the way I have, I've done it a disservice, because it's also personal, human-scale, poignant. You care about the protagonist. You care about his wife. You care about their children. You care about the son who reclaims his father. From the Mouth of the Whale is a gorgeous novel.

Jun 18, Charles Dee Mitchell rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary-lit. 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.

Sjon, who is also an award winning lyricist, can pack a lot into a narrative. The Blue Fox involves an elaborately worked out revenge and ends with a priest freezing to death while debating a dead fox on the diabolical nature of electricity. Compared to The Blue Fox , this second novel is long at pages. A list of topics addressed in From the Mouth of the Whale would include eclipses, natural history, the Icelandic trade in unicorn horns, exorcism, toxic ignorance and married love. Jonas Palmason, known as "The Learned," receives an eccentric education from his father's fragmented library, but in 17th Iceland it makes him both admired and shunned in the communities where he lives.

Although his medicine is learned from books, as a child he becomes expert in diagnosing women's ailments by feeling their bodies under their clothes. They like this more than they can admit. He can draw anatomical charts and maps, both of which are in high demand, but the Protestant reformers that have taken over the land find cause to brand him a witch for the research he does into the ancient customs of Iceland.

For the rest of his life, he will be either on the run or imprisoned or living among the educated classes of Denmark as an admired equal. But for the most part he will suffer at the hands of those who fear his knowledge, knowledge that is very much a part of his time. The novel is interspersed with his comments on natural history, and modern readers will find them to be equal parts scientific observation and folklore. Jonas narrates the story from his final island prison. He has returned from Denmark expecting all charges against him to be dropped, only to find himself again in the hands of his enemies.

When they agree to send him back to the island rather than to a dungeon, he looks forward finding his wife waiting for him there. Instead he finds only her bones. The story of their first meeting, which occurs during a funeral interrupted by an eclipse, captures the innate ignorance and savageness of their society.

I was as bewldered as the dogs that howled, the cats that hissed, the ravens that crawled along the ground, the cows that wandered dazed in the fields. I was as unfortunate as the rest, as unmanned by the dread of what catastrophe this eclipse might bring, what terrible tidings it might portend, what loss of life, what pestilence would now wash up from the sea on to our rock, what heresies, what insanity; indeed, I was as confounded as those that ran weeping round the yard or pressed their faces to the muddy paving slabs, tore off their clothes and any hair they could get hold of, many vomiting in mid-prayer They swung the corpse's mottled limbs back and forth until it appeared to be raising its wizened arms to heaven It did not take a great physician to realise that the old man was as thoroughly dead as he had been but a short time before.

People now began to crowd around the threesome with their pathetic puppet During this event Sigridur, Jonas's future wife, explains the means of predicting eclipses, science she has worked out for herself through observation and a natural inclination for math. They are in love. The chirping of small birds was stilled, the baying of the dogs was silenced, the people on the turf roof ceased shaking the corpse, a hush descended on the countryside and I felt suddenly cold.

High above the Earth the disc of the moon completed its shape on the orb of the sun and in the same instant something was completed inside me.

Diver accidentally ends up inside the mouth of a large whale Video - ABC News

Neither Sigridur nor I looked up when the gable gave way with a loud crack beneath the weight of the corpse-bearers. Jonas's story will also involve the successful exorcism of an angry ghost and the tragic tale of massacred Basque whalers at the hands of ingnorent Icelandic villagers manipulated by their venal community leaders.

It's hard to imagine that Sjon will become a beloved voice of Icelanders, but his unflinching vision of meanness and ignorance goes beyond a critique of his homeland's history. He opens his novel with a scene placed in heaven. Lucifer has returned from a successful hunt to find the heavenly household in disarray. I looked at the Father, who was lounging at ease on his throne He examined something small in His palm You must bow down before him like your brothers Quick as lightning, you shoved your hand under your buttocks, fetched a fistful of whatever you found there, and raised it to your mouth.

I've noticed than when I really like something, I tend to quote a lot. Dec 28, Parrish Lantern rated it it was amazing Shelves: kindle , translation , fiction , on-my-shelves , myths-fables-fairytales. The hunter, we learn, is Lucifer and he is standing before his father who is holding something that is outlawed in heaven: there laying in his hand was man. Our Father rested His fingertip against your spine and tilted His hand carefully so that you uncurled and rolled over on to your back.

I stepped forward to take a better look at you. You scratched your nose with your curled fist, sneezed, oh so sweetly, and fixed on me those egotistical eyes — mouth agape. And I saw that this mouth would never be satisfied, that its teeth would never stop grinding, that its tongue would never tire of being bathed in the life-blood of other living creatures. Then your lips moved. He refuses to bow before what he sees as his fathers pet and is cast out of heaven, but leaves Man a parting gift — a vision of himself. As the book unfolds we learn of his life, of how as a youth, who having learnt from the writings of a Dr Bombastus Paracelsus , was acquainted with and knew the prescription for most female maladies.

He bartered that knowledge for Ravens heads, which according to Bombastus, contains a special stone that can cure most blood illnesses, called a bezoar. At twenty years of age he was an excellent scribe and seems to have been well known for paintings and carvings, although nothing has survived to the present. I also learned that in King Christian IV of Denmark decreed that all sorcery, whether white or black, was evil and illegal. He also decreed that it was to be harshly suppressed throughout his domain. It was even debated whether it was a suitable or legitimate subject for scientific study.

Aug 21, Lee rated it really liked it. 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 , 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, alienated The book is not plot-driven, you won't rush through the pages, and Sjon doesn't so much cater to the reader as you may be used to, you may not 'identify' with anyone.

You become the reader-as-would-be-historian; sift through this precious, solitary account for what must be preserved. The book opens with a strange folkloric Christian story that is never revisited or explained; it may still be my favorite part of the book. Aug 13, Bradley Skaught rated it it was amazing. Told mostly from his exile on a lonely island in , Jonas Palmason's scattered, hungry thoughts weave folkore, superstition, science and Christian lore into a massive tapestry reflecting all the inner workings of the world.

His life is almost ceaselessly tragic and his trials heartbreaking, the world around him cruel and ignorant, yet through the wild, endless flow of faith and almost animistic mystical experience he records and transcends his trials. From The Mouth of the Whale is an absolutely transporting read, almost prose poetry at times as Palmason's thoughts run wild and his visions unfold. Sep 20, Carolyn rated it it was amazing Shelves: icelandic-fiction.

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 "The realm of the specific is what provides you with stories, and hopefully, if they are well told, they'll speak to people everywhere. The violent upheavals of the Reformation were suffered as much in Iceland as elsewhere, outlawing traditions of the past and condemning their practitioners as sorcerers. Jonas is condemned to exile on a barren island, and has lost nearly everything except his memories and his delight in observing the natural world.

His observations meander between the fantastical and the scientific, the surreal to the historical. Many of Jonas's memories are of horrific cruelty, abuse of power, and dreadful personal loss and pain, but through all this, his humanity shines through, undimmed by what fate has dealt him. The text is not always easy, with the narrative veering off into the surreal, and I had to skip a couple of pages describing the massacre of the Basque whalers.

However, the stunning poetic imagery alone elevated this book to the heights of modern writing. Nov 04, Erin rated it really liked it. 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.

His choice of language makes the characters and the environment so tangible that the reader can easily connect despite the distance in space and time. Jonas may have believed that carrying a piece of coral would protect you from lightning, trolls, and stomach ailments AND make you popular! When he was dealt a blow, I felt it. When his hopes were raised, I was rooting for him. While certain bits were confusing and I admit I had to read them over more than once, I also reread passages just because of how beautifully written they were.

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 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 translation but most likely it's me not caring a jot about Iceland 's, ice fishing and the like and the author not succeeding in making me care as great authors do about the unlikeliest subjects to cater to one's taste see Hari Kunzru and UFO's, Lawrence Norfolk and 17th century cooking or Hilary mantel and Anne Boleyn for recent books that I ranked in my top 10 and which if you asked me before hand, do you want to read a novel about that, I would answer, no interest Anyway if the subject matter from the blurb seems to tickle your fancy try this book as I would not claim it is badly written, just at a large angle with my taste Jan 19, Erica rated it it was amazing.

Navigation menu

The cover of the book has pull quotes from Junot Diaz, A. 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. I want to read it again to catch all that I missed before. Now I've overblown it, but that's ok, because it means people will read it to argue with me. Jun 26, Anna Kuhl rated it liked it. I am not philosophical enough for this book, and yet.

It was strange and sad and I enjoyed it. May 04, Malcolm added it Shelves: unfinished. 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. Apr 04, Molly rated it really liked it. I feel like if i read this a second time i would move it up to 5 stars! It is very layered and interesting and i plan on reading it again.

Dec 27, Marthe Bijman rated it really liked it. I went to Iceland in August in the company of a Geologist to see volcanoes and other spectacular geological formations, not to go look at the places where Game of Thrones was filmed. I wondered how well Iceland would match his descriptions of the towns and land I went to Iceland in August in the company of a Geologist to see volcanoes and other spectacular geological formations, not to go look at the places where Game of Thrones was filmed. I wondered how well Iceland would match his descriptions of the towns and landscapes in From the Mouth of the Whale.

What I observed changed my understanding of the book, which, I admit, I had found very difficult to read. He rambles on in a surrealistic stream-of-consciousness monologue, sometimes talking to birds, or the sea, or dead people. Some book sleuths have been able to trace the island and the part of the coast where it is located, but it must be said that the mere reference to an off-shore Icelandic island is enough to conjure up any number of images of lonely, barren, harsh, sea-bird-filled, cold, miserable rock outcrops.

Any island is like any other island The island, as well as the other places mentioned in the novel, could be anywhere in Iceland. When you drive to the north of the island, east or west, you frequently see the mouths of fjords, the inlets and the beaches dotted with islands that are rocky outcrops, some connected by causeways to the mainland, but many just out there, like pointy silhouettes on the horizon.

Every little village and hamlet has its church, and often, every house has a waterfall behind it, and a church beside it. And nearly every bit of coast has an island or rocky outcrop offshore. Particularly when you go off the main route and cross the centre of the island over the lava fields, driving over the ice fields and past volcanoes, you recognize the hardness of this land. It is what it is, and what it has always been, apart from the natural forests that were all cut down: rumbling and smoking, hard and arid, cold and windy at the best of times, with mean-looking sheep.

News Daily Headlines

From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón - review. There's an oddity and elegance to an Icelandic epic that melds science, magic and art. AS Byatt. From the Mouth of the Whale book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The year is Iceland is a world darkened by super.

What is there, like a big, raw fist in your face, is the sheer, naked personification of the Icelandic landscape. This is place as a persona, with a vengeance. Apr 27, David Fuller rated it really liked it. He also collaborated with pop star Bjrk on the lyrics for her music in Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark. Like any good Icelandic saga writer, or modern magical realist, he blends fact and fantasy.

It gracefully captures the spirit of the age. Sorcery and alchemy are slowly, and uneasily, giving way to the sciences; in in Iceland, a learned man is one who catalogues the known animals and can put to rest an undead spirit. Palmason falls in love with his wife in part for her astronomical observations and predictions. I dare not ask her; women think men ought to remember that sort of thing. One such mission is putting down a troublesome corpse come back to life, described in typically vivid detail.

It has "white skin, with a fist-sized bruise from the temple to the right-hand corner of its mouth, mouldering cheeks, hair straggling claw-like over its forehead above rolling, red, bestial eyes. His reputation briefly saves him from his exile, when Danish scholar Ole Worm summons him to Copenhagen to share his knowledge.

After acclimatizing himself to the frantic pace of urban life, Palmason effortlessly debunks one of Denmark's royal treasures: a unicorn horn that actually came from a narwhal. One never becomes used to it. Despite his uneasy peace in the end, Palmason finds release in the mouth of a whale. It is a fittingly surreal final journey for a moving and often humorous tale. Nov 22, Jori Richardson rated it liked it Recommends it for: readers who appreciate stream-of-consciousness, those interested in Icelandic history. Shelves: historical-fiction , writer-from-iceland , something-different.

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 's. Also, the publisher is known for printing strange, atypical books that I more often than not find myself loving. Well, "From the Mouth of the Whale" was indeed strange, though not for the same reasons as the other books I had read.

It was a stream of consciousness type of book, which I normally either love or hate. Here, I hated it. It prevented me from becoming absorbed in the book. Whenever I would put it down and then pick it back up again, I would find the style jarring, and it would take about 50 pages to get used to it. By then, it would be time to stop - and so it went until I finished, feeling sore as if I had just commenced a bumpy ride.

It's a shame, because if not for the distracting writing style, I think that I could have really enjoyed this book. I think that naturalism can be quite interesting, especially in a historical setting. And Sjon often included intricate plot descriptions of animals that directly related to the story or characters. Also, I loved the opening scene, in which Lucifer first meets man.

Sjon's version of a young Satan is a son of God, which I found intriguing. Satan is Jesus' brother? It sounds like a story. Satan's foreboding feeling regarding man, predicting their selfishness and insistence on destroying the rest of God's creation, was apt and insightful. I was annoyed that Lucifer never again appeared in the story, and his cameo seemed irrelevant except for proving a point. There were other enticingly interesting little things scattered throughout the book. Learned scholars study "unicorn's horns" and "mermaid sculptures," actually narwhale tusks and coral.

Occasional paragraphs about natural things pepper the story, almost always intertwined with magic. Everything I felt mildly interesting in this book never led to anything, and it was never enough to overpower the distaste I felt toward the writing style. I wouldn't recommend this book unless you personally love stream of consciousness novels. If so, there is plenty to be enjoyed.

However, if you, like me, find the writing style more likely to range from distracting to infuriating, it would perhaps be best to skip this one. Jul 31, Rosana rated it liked it Shelves: bookish-schallenge , 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 would get lost and as much as I tried and paid attention, I c Oh, I wanted to like this book. I would get lost and as much as I tried and paid attention, I could not find my way around this story. Other reviewers mentioned that they never read anything like this book before. I do agree with them there, but a novelty is not necessary a pleasurable experience. On the contrary, they are cursed and banned by the very people that they could have helped.