Sjon, Victoria Cribb
WINNER OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY’S NORDIC PRIZE 2023
‘A book like a blade of light, searching out and illuminating the darkest corners of history . . . It’s vivid, unputdownable, alive, and written with unerring artfulness and subtlety.’ Neel Mukherjee
Gunnar Kampen grows up in Reykjavik during the Second World War in a household fiercely opposed to Hitler and Nazism. A caring brother and son, at nineteen he seems set to lead a conventional life. Yet in the spring of 1958, he founds a covert, anti-Semitic nationalist party with ties to a burgeoning international network of neo-Nazis – a cause that will take him on a clandestine mission to England from which he never returns.
In this striking novel, inspired by one of the ringleaders of an Icelandic neo-Nazi group formed in the late 1950s, Sjon masterfully constructs the portrait of an ordinary young man who becomes a right-wing zealot. Exposing the roots of the far-right movements of today, Red Milk is a timely reminder that the seeds of extremism can be hard to detect and the allure of fascism remains dangerously potent.
Sjon's policy of omission-of drama, psychology, violence, grandeur of any kind-results in a delicious tension. He tempts us to expect so much of the novel, and though he never provides the relief of clean culminations, he manages to keep the reader wanting. * Asymptote Journal * A slim forensic novel to strike a chill. * Saga * Sjon's prose is appropriately sharp and precise, illuminating the murky corners of his topic. -- Pippa Bailey * New Statesman * This is a landscape proper to a child's imagination, dreamlike but solid, with all the pronounced lucidity and wild agency that objects and colors assume . . . Sjon makes us think again about what empathy can - and frequently enough simply can't - achieve. -- Erica Banks * 4Columns * Like Iceland itself, Sjon's books are simultaneously tiny and huge, weird and normal, ancient and modern. Reading them feels like listening to that story of the beached whale: a wild invention that is actually a straight-faced confession. His books dance - with light, quick steps, never breaking eye contact - all over the line between the mythic and the mundane. -- Sam Anderson * New York Times * What Sjon leaves out of his work is as powerful as what he puts in. His fiction never seems to break into a sweat, yet it takes you a long, long way. * David Mitchell *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?