Moonstone by Sjón
The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel

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Though it is a deeply felt novel, Sjón’s prose is never histrionic or overwrought, balancing rage and hallucination (there are echoes of Artaud and Ballard) with a gentleness of spirit, an affection for precision and the small scale. The result is sure to delight his fans and convert many new ones.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sjón's specialty, and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is no exception. But it is also Sjón's most realistic, accessible, and heartfelt work yet. It is the story of a young man on the fringes of a society that is itself at the fringes of the world--at what seems like history's most tumultuous, perhaps ultimate moment.

Máni Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland's shores. And if the flu doesn't do it, there's always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema! And there's nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape from the overwhelming threats--and adventures--of the night, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Máni Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.

 

About Sjón

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Sjón was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He is an award-winning novelist, poet, and playwright, and his novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. He is the president of the Icelandic PEN Centre and the chairman of the board of Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature. Also a lyricist, he has written songs for Björk, including for her most recent project, Biophilia, and was nominated for an Oscar for the  lyrics he cowrote (with Lars von Trier) for Dancer in the Dark. He lives in Reykjavik.
 
Published August 2, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 160 pages
Genres: History, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Moonstone
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on May 18 2016

...the novel’s real point is for Sjón to pay tribute to an uncle who died of AIDS in 1993, a fact that only appears in the novel’s very last line. A hazy portrait of a desperate historical moment.

Read Full Review of Moonstone: The Boy Who Never ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Hari Kunzru on May 26 2016

Though it is a deeply felt novel, Sjón’s prose is never histrionic or overwrought, balancing rage and hallucination (there are echoes of Artaud and Ballard) with a gentleness of spirit, an affection for precision and the small scale. The result is sure to delight his fans and convert many new ones.

Read Full Review of Moonstone: The Boy Who Never ... | See more reviews from Guardian

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