Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 10 island stories

Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavik on the 27th of August, 1962. He started his writing career early, publishing his first book of poetry, Sýnir (Visions), in 1978. He won the Nordic Council's Literature prize for The Blue Fox, which was also longlisted for the Independent foreign fiction prize in 2009.

His new novel is From the Mouth of the Whale, which A.S. Byatt praised as the work of an "extraordinary and original writer."

Sjón named his top ten island stories for the Guardian.

One title on the list:
The Island Of Dr Moreau by HG Wells

The remote island is – of course – a perfect refuge for the crazed scientist. On the tiny Nobel Island, Dr Moreau conducted his mad experiment of turning animals into humanoid and civilised beings. He was doomed to fail as the feral instinct couldn't be bred out of his "patients". It is a story the inhabitants of poor little Iceland know all too well, albeit in reverse. In the 90s, the country's all-seeing prime minister and his trusted humpbacks decided to turn Icelanders into immoral beasts/NeoCons. Despite the crash bringing the laboratory down for a while it remains to be seen if common decency was bred out of the nation or not.
Read about another novel on the list.

Also see Romesh Gunesekera's top ten island books.

--Marshal Zeringue