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Uit De Bek Van De Walvis (2008)

Uit de bek van de walvis (2008)

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3.48 of 5 Votes: 1
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About book Uit De Bek Van De Walvis (2008)

Jonas the Learned is a poet, carver, exorcist of spirits, naturalist and healer (and probably many other things besides). It is 17th century Iceland, and everything is grim and cold. Jonas is found guilty of sorcery, and banished to a remote island.As a story it is strange and wild. Written as part memoir - part hallucination? - and part biography, it feels as if a little curtain has been pulled aside, to show us into the mind of a stranger. After a while it closes, and we have learned a little, and shared in some of his pleasures and in some of his horrors, but we have not been told a story in the traditional sense of the word - though as the book progresses we learn more about what lay behind the charge of sorcery. I'm not quite sure what to make of it - but I liked it, and will try other works by Sjon.My copy: purchased new at The Paperback Bookshop.NB: contains a character called Dr Worm, though he is not an actual worm (no mention of whether he liked to play the drums) Curse you Sheriff Ari Magnússon of Ögur!Sjón's majestic and rendingly emotional story hides itself at first, disguised in the ramblings of an old Icelandic man. These are all the more hidden thanks to the first few pages which, in mythically-laden prose, describe truly epic events from an unexpected perspective. Nonetheless, by the time the book closes these two themes have become clearly elaborated, namely: disappointment in humanity and the unexpected, even hidden brilliance possible to humans. Iceland makes a stellar showing in the ecological and cultural schemata of the book, while its protagonist and main narrator Jónas Pálmason, or Jónas the Learned, becomes an unlikely hero of sorts; his wife, pugnacious and wise natural astronomer Sigrídur Thórólsdóttir plays a tragic role, while the benevolent Ole Worm, Jónas' son the Reverend Pálmi Gudmundur Jònasson, and his Grandfather Hákon and grandmother play supporting roles. Against these strongly characterized heroes are placed the forces of trickery and evil, Sheriff Ögur, Nightwolf Pétursson, and Thórólfur Thódarson or "Wizard-Láfi." While the first two are unqualifiedly evil and selfish men, the last draws more of his influence from Loki, and the sequence of events where Láfi and Jónas hunt the ghost was, I thought, particularly well narrated.All told, Sjón more than proves his worth in this novel, shot through with epic, mythic, and historical influences (other reviewers have picked up on these latter features much more cunningly than I have), and taking nothing but the grandest of themes to bear in a culture too often forgotten from stories. It's a hell of a book. And it's worth reading.

Do You like book Uit De Bek Van De Walvis (2008)?

I liked it a lot but can think of more people who would not like it than would like it.

Although this is a beautifully written book, I had a hard time getting into the story.

I immediately wanted to re-read this, which I guess is a good thing.

Different, enjoyed it but was a bit strange.

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