Guiding you through this slim modern saga is Valdimar Haraldsson, the eccentric, pompous author of Fisk og Kultur, a seventeen-volume work on the link between fish consumption and the superiority of the Nordic race (set in 1949, the book is suggestive, but never explicitly moralistic). From Valdimar’s self-important and sometimes oblivious perspective, we follow a Danish merchant ship across the Black Sea. During the voyage, second mate Caeneus regales the passengers with tales from his time with Jason on the quest for the Golden Fleece. Caeneus weaves his increasingly fantastic stories into the daily life of the current expedition, blurring the boundary between myth and truth. The Whispering Muse (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $12), the third novel(la) by the Icelandic writer Sjon, succeeds at both the surface level of a quirky, satirical story and a deeper, darker exploration of cultures and peoples.
(This book cannot be returned.)