If you visited San Francisco in the sixties you might have dined at The Blue Fox. It was a real treat and quite expensive for the time. You might have even had a T-shirt that announced, “Eat At the Blue Fox,” with naughty implications. But the short novel by the Icelandic author Sjón titled The Blue Fox has nothing to do with San Francisco, fine dining, or T-shirts.
The novel takes place in an earlier time when one hunted with a muzzle-loader that required tedious re-loading after each shot and when less-than-acceptable children were seldom allowed to live. Times were tough … and very cold.
Sjón introduces a hunter, a clergyman, Down’s Syndrome, icy exposure, avalanches, and a rare blue fox. Add to this the fascinating landscape of Iceland and a surrealistic sense of fable, and The Blue Fox becomes a must-read novel. At the same time I picked up The Blue Fox I also obtained copies of Sjón’s two other recently published translations (by Victoria Cribb), From the Mouth of the Whale and The Whispering Muse. There’s some good reading coming my way.