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Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2016
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Description

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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/02/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374712877
ASIN:
B01AGGSPRM
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sjón. (2016). Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sjón. 2016. Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sjón, Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sjón. Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:17:47
Date Updated:
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        Born in Reykjavík in 1962, Sjón is the author of the novels The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale, Moonstone, and CoDex 1962, for which he won several awards, including the Nordic Council's Literature Prize and the Icelandic Literary Prize. He has also been short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and his work has been translated into thirty-five languages.
        In addition, Sjón has written more than seven poetry collections, several opera librettos, and lyrics for various artists, including Björk. He was nominated for an Oscar for his lyrics in Dancer in the Dark, and he cowrote the script of the film The Northman with its director, Robert Eggers. In 2017 he became the third writer – following Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell – to contribute to Future Library, a public artwork based in Norway spanning one hundred years.
        He lives in Reykjavík, Iceland.

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shortDescription

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...

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title
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fullDescription

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.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 6, 2016
        A long-time collaborator with Björk, Sjón is an Icelandic writer, poet, and musician with a cult following. His latest work to be translated into English opens with a sex scene that sent ripples across his homeland upon release and sets the tone for a story both tender and explicit. Set in Reykjavik in 1918 as the Spanish flu runs rampant, this short, impressionistic work follows Máni Steinn, a cinema-obsessed 16-year-old boy who turns tricks for older men passing through his provincial city, and Sola G, a motorcycle-driving girl who infatuates him. As the epidemic’s death toll rises, and his beloved movie theater is shuttered, Máni is employed by Dr. Garibaldi Árnason to assist in the physician’s visits with the dying, while Sola is the driver. After Máni is imprisoned for having sex with a Danish sailor, the pace of the novel quickens and its stakes heighten. This is not a vast historical epic in the mode of Hilary Mantel; the characters and settings are vaguely sketched. But the prose is full of striking and poetic scenes, such as a silent film screened without musical accompaniment because all the musicians have died of influenza: “it becomes apparent just how silent these films really are.” This novel resonates both as an allegory about society and sex, as well as a historical glimpse of a time when pandemic and war pressed upon Iceland from the south.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 1, 2016
        Award-winning novelist, poet, and Bjork collaborator Sjon (From the Mouth of the Whale, 2008, etc.) takes direct aim at Icelandic conservatism in this slim, meditative novella about a gay teen in Reykjavik on the eve of the Spanish Flu, circa 1918.The story opens with Mani Steinn, a 16-year-old boy, engaged in sex with an older man, a matter-of-fact scene handled with workmanlike precision by the author. "Without a word the man flings a crumpled bank note at him and hastens away in the direction of town," Sjon writes. "The boy smoothes out the note and grins; there are two of them, a whole fifteen kronur." Despite dabbling in prostitution, Mani leads a solitary existence. His only occasional companion is a motorcycle-riding tough girl named Sola G, beloved to Mani because she resembles the famous French actress Musidora. The book itself is a love letter to the cinema, as Mani spends most of his waking hours enraptured in the black-and-white flickering images, even as the flu begins to cut down the people of Reykjavik in scores. When the boy contracts the illness, the novel succumbs to hallucinatory passages interspersed with foreboding images, a condition from which neither Mani nor the story ever fully recovers. One particularly eerie moment stands out, as Mani and Sola G prowl the cinemas fumigating them with chlorine gas, dressed in black. "The greenish yellow gas that had lately felled young men on the battlefields of Europe now drifts and rolls through the picture houses of Reykjavik," Sjon writes. The novel eventually closes its circle--the boy survives and grows into adulthood in England and becomes involved with the burgeoning surrealist film movement--but the novel's real point is for Sjon 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.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        July 1, 2016
        The latest book by Sjon (The Blue Fox, 2013), an Icelandic writer and lyricist for Bjork, is a concise, magical, and elegiac novel set over several turbulent months in Iceland in 1918. At age 16, Mani Steinn, who is gay and a sometime hustler, is obsessed with two things: the beautiful, motorcycle-driving Sola G and the movies. With little family, except for a great-aunt with whom he shares an apartment, Mani spends his days loafing about and taking in the new films at sleepy Reykjavik's two theaters. As the volcano Katla rumbles in the background, and Europe is engulfed in war, the Spanish influenza arrives, upending Mani's world. By the novel's end, a decimated Iceland becomes a sovereign state, while Mani himself gains a type of independence as well. A coda set a decade later provides a satisfying close to the novel, connecting Mani's story to the present and rewriting a bit of Iceland's history. Sjon is a minimalist genius, achieving so much with so little. And this work is brilliantly translated.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

subtitle
The Boy Who Never Was: A Novel
popularity
44
publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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