The Whispering Muse

Written by Sjón Victoria Cribb (trans.)
Review by Ann Chamberlin

Before the First World War, Valdimar Haraldsson begins the publication of a journal devoted to the theory that the superiority of the Nordic race is due to the quantity of seafood they consume. He is the main contributor. A shipping magnate patron invites our hero to sail on one of his fishing vessels – where no seafood is on the menu. One of his fellow passengers recites his tale of having sailed on the Argos with Jason focusing, it seems to me, on the episode of the Island of Women with male and prurient interest. Another passenger spent the Second World War in Poland and regales us with the repercussions of institutionalized racism. Tales of Nordic myth also appear.

Sjon seems to be very popular in the rarefied air of European belles lettres. I found little for the fan who looks for the recreation of distant times and places. I never got a scene evoked so I could smell it, and the emotions eluded me. This seems the merest sketch whispered by the muse; the receptive author should do some work to deserve the gift.