Sjon. Not a very descriptive designation for a guy whose culture uses a suffix in everyone’s family name to describe them as someone’s son or sen or dottir. That said, like George Dubya was a decider, Sjon is a describer. What he describes is the life of Jonas the Learned, exiled Icelandic mystic, naturalist, natural philosopher and accepted crackpot, during the 1630s.
Jonas’s misfortunes move between descriptions that are Iceland’s landscape, flora and fauna and the wind’s instrument that sits off its coast…his penal home of Gullbjorn’s Island. You will pull for Jonas against his mainland tormentors and hanker for him to give them their comeuppance upon his return from Copenhagen University. Unfortunately he returns to…plot buster…ruin. Sad.
There is sunshine in the North Sea. The laugh he shares with Rector Ole Worm over Danish King Christian IV’s unicorn horn. The most uproarious ghost story you are ever likely to hear. His love for his wife, his children. Sweet.
The book isn’t action packed, but it’s packed with interesting writing and plenty of oddities. Expect something modest and you will find it extraordinary.