BOOK SERIES
The Power of Literature in the Changing World
AUTHOR
Sjón

Moonstone
The Boy Who Never Was

TRANSLATOR
Tatjana Latinović
Description

The year is 1918. The First World War has ended, Iceland has gained independence, and the passenger ship from Denmark imported the Spanish flu to this island country. The major eruption of the Katla volcano has caused a microclimate crisis. Iceland experienced the coldest winter in its history,
and in the deserted Reykjavík, only the wailing of ambulance sirens and the death rattles of the sick could be heard during those cold days. The country was plagued by poverty, hunger, and disease, and the social life of Reykjavík was reduced to visiting the only two cinemas in the city. This is the story of the greatest pandemic in history from the perspective of a boy, banished from his own body and society.

The main character of the novel is sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn, a gay young man living in a society where homosexuality is unacceptable. Máni loves movies and goes to the cinema daily because there he feels safe and hidden from the rest of the world. In the difficult post-war times that befell Reykjavík, he struggles with the decision of whether to withdraw into the imaginary world of film or to engage with the society that has cruelly rejected him. While people lock themselves in their homes out of fear of the plague, Máni finally feels free. He joins the fight against the pandemic and selflessly helps his fellow citizens.

With his wondrous storytelling ability, Sjón weaves a story about life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and discoveries, outcasts and those who do not fit in, rejection and togetherness.

Moonstone has won the most prestigious Icelandic literary awards and has been translated into 19 languages. In 2023, Sjón received the esteemed Nordic Council Literature Prize awarded by the Swedish Academy.

„Ovo je djelo savršena književna minijatura, poput dijamanta, u kojem je
svaki odlomak precizno izbrušen, svaka rečenica pomno ispolirana.“
THE GUARDIAN

AUTHOR
Sjón
Sjón (Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He is one of the founders of Medúsa, a group of neosurrealists that had a significant influence on the artistic life of Reykjavik. He has published seven novels and nine poetry collections, and has also distinguished himself as a playwright, librettist, and author of children's books. His works have been translated into thirty-five languages. For his fifth novel, The Blue Fox, he won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 2005, the highest recognition given to writers from the Nordic countries, and the book has been published in 33 countries. His novels, The Whispering Muse (2005) and From the Mouth of the Whale (2008), have also achieved great international success and critical acclaim. His novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was (2013) won all the major literary awards in Iceland and has been translated into 19 languages. Sjón is an active participant in the Icelandic visual and music scene. He has written lyrics for many songs by Icelandic singer Björk, and he was nominated for an Oscar for the lyrics of the song from the film "Dancer in the Dark" by Lars von Trier. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Lamb (2021), for which he received the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2022, becoming the only recipient of this important award in two categories, literary and film. He is one of the screenwriters for the successful epic thriller The Northman (2022). In 2023, Sjón received a significant recognition for his work and overall contribution to literature from the Swedish Academy, the Nordic Prize in Literature. This award is also known as the "little Nobel."
TRANSLATOR
Tatjana Latinović
Tatjana Latinović was born in Osijek, and has lived in Reykjavik, Iceland since 1994. She studied English and German language and literature in Croatia, as well as Icelandic language and literature in Iceland. She is engaged in intellectual property issues and is a member of various institutions, such as the Icelandic Technology Transfer Office. She also works as a human rights activist, focusing on immigrant and gender issues. She is a co-founder of W.O.M.E.N. organization in Iceland, the first non-governmental organization representing immigrant women in Iceland. She also served as the Chair of the Immigration Council in the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Iceland for many years. In May 2019, she was elected President of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association, established in 1907. She was awarded the Order of the President of Iceland in 2019 for her work. Her first translation from Icelandic was published in 2005, and since then, she has translated fifteen titles from Icelandic to Croatian and Serbian, including the poetry collection Polar Circus by Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir, the novels The Blue Fox and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón, Angels of the Universe by Einar Már Guðmundsson, and Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.