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The Whispering Muse (2005)

by Sjón

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3441672,328 (3.48)37
Invited to sail on a Danish merchant ship in 1949, eccentric Icelander Valdimar Haraldsson discovers the second mate on the ship is none other than Caeneus, the hero of Greek mythology, who regales his fellow shipmates with tales of the Golden Fleece.

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» See also 37 mentions

English (12)  Spanish (1)  Icelandic (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A lyrical excursion from ancient Greece to Iceland and beyond, this narrative is nothing if not dreamlike. Short but deep in meaning and existential feeling that left this reader with wonder at the experience of reading. ( )
  jwhenderson | Nov 27, 2022 |
It is 1949, and a somewhat eccentric Icelander (with ideas about the consumption of fish and the superiority of the Nordic race), is invited aboard a Danish merchant vessel on a voyage from Copenhagen to Norway. He accepts. Undercover as the 2nd mate on the crew is the mythical Caeneus, who entertains the crew with his tales each evening. The tales and the trip seem to merge at time, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy….

I enjoyed this amusing and clever book, despite my lack of knowledge in the realm of mythology. Sjon is one of those smart & clever authors, a wizard of a kind, creatively disrespectful of the borders between the real and not. I enjoy his books, and look forward to more. ( )
  avaland | Jan 17, 2022 |
I wanted to like this book. I tried. I found this so incredibly boring. Exhausting. I skipped whole chunks I'll admit. I just couldn't get into it. I really liked the cover, the premise was different and sounded interesting. Other people's reviews say it's awesome. Hell, even Bjork loves this guy. I really wanted to like it.

I'm not going to go into great detail about what I don't like, just that I don't like it.

It's not worth my time. Ugh.

It makes me tired. ( )
  Shahnareads | Oct 22, 2019 |
A strange look at Jason and the Argonauts from an Icelandic/Norwegian voyage in the 1940s ( )
  devilish2 | Mar 20, 2019 |
a short novel its most intriguing aspect being the protagonist's theory that Nordic culture had succeeded because of its higher consumption of fish. Additionally, the tale takes place on a small merchant ship with excellent guest quarters and its luminaries are entertained nightly at the Captain's table by a ship's mate who tells tales of Jason and the Argonauts.

an entertaining novella that falls short of the writer's masterpiece, From The Mouth of the Whale.
Sjon is a magical writer. ( )
  berthirsch | Feb 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sjónprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cribb, VictoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otten, MarcelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I, Valdimar Haraldsson, was in my twenty-seventh year when I embarked on the publication of a small journal devoted to my chief preoccupation, the link between fish consumption and the superiority of the Nordic race.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Invited to sail on a Danish merchant ship in 1949, eccentric Icelander Valdimar Haraldsson discovers the second mate on the ship is none other than Caeneus, the hero of Greek mythology, who regales his fellow shipmates with tales of the Golden Fleece.

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

Among the crew is the mythical hero Caeaeus, 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.

A master storyteller, Sjon seamlessly blends seafaring yarns of the ancient world with the manners of the modern age.
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