cover image The Whispering Muse

The Whispering Muse

Sjón, trans. from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb. Farrar, Staus and Giroux, $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-374-28907-2

In the first and most straightforward of the trilogy, Valdimar Haraldsson is an old man, taking a respite from his life’s work of documenting what he believes to be the superiority of Nordic people due to their fish-heavy diet. As a character, he’s unlikable, even boring. Yet when he finds himself invited aboard the merchant ship Elizabet Jung-Olsen, on which the nightly entertainment is the lively retelling of Jason and the Argonauts by a fellow shipmate, it is Valdimar’s penchant for order that makes the unexpected course of the voyage that much more compelling. Agent: Trine Licht, Licht & Burr (Denmark). (May 1)