TITLE: The Blue Fox
PUBLISHED: April 30th 2013
PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic Realism, Scandinavian Literature, and Icelandic.
Set against the stark backdrop of the Icelandic winter, an elusive, enigmatic fox leads a hunter on a transformative quest. At the edge of the hunter’s territory, a naturalist struggles to build a life for his charge, a young woman with Down syndrome whom he had rescued from a shipwreck years before. By the end of Sjón’s slender, spellbinding fable of a novel, none of their lives will be the same. Winner of the 2005 Nordic Council Literature Prize—the Nordic world’s highest literary honor—The Blue Fox is part mystery, part fairy tale, and the perfect introduction to a mind-bending, world-class literary talent.
I felt particularly bound by this novel and the blue fox because 2 years ago I was in Iceland over the summer with friends, just travelling around and sightseeing. After leaving Reykjavik (which is a beautiful city) we drove off onto the ring road. I couldn’t tell you exactly where we were but it was about 3 days in when I saw a black shape running across the horizon. For some reason I still can’t explain I asked my boyfriend to stop the car and I stepped out to see what it was. Coming from Canada I immediately thought it was a black bear, it wasn’t really that far from me but the landscape was playing tricks with my eyes and I couldn’t tell how big it was. I knew they didn’t have bears in Iceland so maybe a black dog? It definitely wasn’t a sheep or Icelandic horse that are everywhere on the island. I decided to slowly jog after it but every time I moved, it moved further away. When I stopped it stopped and we stared. It was really magical, in a way I can’t explain. I have always felt really close to animals and I was drawn to this little black shape moving across the green/yellow moss. After a while I felt bad leaving my friends and ran back to the car. I still had no idea what it was but later on in the trip I stumbled across an Icelandic animal book and realized that it was an arctic fox. Once I saw a picture I knew indefinitely that what I saw was a black little fox. I read that they are fairly rare to see and I felt really grateful to have that moment.
Anyways, I just wanted to add my little story but this book is simply brilliant and grim. How he packs as much imagery amazes me and if you have any interested in Icelandic history I would recommend this. Even though it is set in “modern” times (1800’s) it feels and reads like an Icelandic saga.
Highly enjoyable and I definitely will start reading more by this author.