Icelandic fiction with a twist of magic realism

Friday, May 3, 2013

"The Blue Fox," by Sjon

In his expansion into the United States, Icelandic author Sjon released three of his novels through publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Included in these novels is "The Blue Fox," translated by Victoria Cribb.

"The Blue Fox" is essentially the story of a hunt, of a man searching in the dead of Icelandic winter for a blue fox, a species "so curiously like stones that it is a matter for wonder."

"The creature must take care not to forget that the man is a hunter."

Much of this book is rather difficult to understand, perhaps in the translation, perhaps in the struggle to keep the individual characters straight and apart from each other. The story builds right up until the last moment, to the point I was concerned Sjon would rush the ending, or finish without a conclusion.

The final image, however, is what makes this book worth reading. Not one to give away the ending, Sjon does wrap everything up with a touch of magic realism. And in the final moments of this book, you'll understand why Sjon is considered one of the great Icelandic novelists, poets and playwrights of his time.

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