Valdimar Haraldsson, a peevish elderly academic obsessed with the connection between the obvious superiority of the Nordic race and a heavy pescetarian diet, is invited by a benefactor to partake in a cruise on the Black Sea with the Danish merchant vessel MS Elisabet Jung-Olsen. On board, he is introduced to the ship’s misfit crew, including the first mate Caeneus, who, it turns out, was one of the famed Argonauts, in search of the Golden Fleece. Night after night, the first mate regales the crew with his tales of the voyage and his later adventures. However, it soon appears that there are many more legends at play, as the various threads of the tale combine folklore from across the world into a Campbellian vortex. In the cantankerous voice of Valdimar Harladsson, Sjón has found the perfect counterbalance to Caenus’s Old Qfwfq-like narration, breathing new life into the strange myths.
About the author
Sjón has published twelve books, and at least as many collections of poetry, with one coming out every year or two. He was Oscar-nominated for his lyrical contribution to Björk’s ‘Dancer In The Dark’, and collaborates with her regularly. His output has been translated into 35 languages and won five awards, including the Nordic Council Literature Prize for ‘The Blue Fox’.