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Yvette - Bookworlder

Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.


The Whispering Muse by Sjon

The Whispering Muse: A Novel - Sjón

Having just finished The Whispering Muse, I am unsure of how to describe the experience of it.  It starts off quite dry and I nearly put the book down permanently. The narrator, Valdimar Harraldson, is a 70+ year old Icelander with a strong conviction that the consumption of fish is vital to his notion of the superiority of the Scandinavian peoples.  He comes across as being very proper, possibly fastidious in nature, which does lend a more early 20th century feel to his narration.  But the story does not center on him, rather he provides (however reluctantly) the framework and platform for others to tell their stories.  Most notably, for it is where the writing shines, in the retelling of some of the adventures of Jason and the Argonauts by the former argonaut and now first mate Caeneus.


Sjon is not an author I had any awareness of, until I spotted the rather iconic bookcovers while browsing on bookoutlet.com.  This peaked my curiosity enough to read the descriptions, but not to order any of the three titles.  I did, however, give in to the pull of the book jacket when I spotted a pile of this particular title on clearance at a local bookstore.  And while I wouldn't say that this is a great book, or that I felt a sense of enjoyment throughout the reading of it, I will say that the end left me with a smile and I have since ordered Sjon's The Blue Fox and The Mouth of the Whale.


Please note, for those who are sensitive, that this book does include some details that are not for the faint of heart as well as prejudicial views and language that were more accepted in 1949.  It also includes the story of a rape.  The ancient gods were not necessarily nice people.