A Year in Reading: Nuruddin Farah

December 19, 2011 | 1

coverThere is a fairy tale quality to the novel The Blue Fox by the Icelandic author Sjon. Right from the start, the reader is made aware not only of the presence of the fox, but also what its presence might mean to those around it, especially the humans who populate the landscape in which the fable is enacted.

In addition to the fox, there are human characters in the novel: Baldur Skuggason, pastor-turned-hunter keen on tracking down the fox’s movements through the snowy woods; a young nature-loving hippie herbalist Fridrik Fridjonsson, who has come home to settle his late parents’ estate and who is planning to return to his lotus-eating in 17th century Copenhagen. But when by chance he encounters “a simple” girl named Abba foraging in the outhouse of his parents’ building for food, he changes his mind and chooses to remain.

Skillfully done, there is a lot of poetry in this novel – Fridjonsson claims that in his travels he has seen the universe, which according to him, “is made of poetry.” Baldur, meanwhile, kills the fox, consumes its heart, and wears its fur.

The Blue Fox won the Nordic Council Literature Prize.

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's ten previous novels have been translated into seventeen languages and have won numerous awards. Born in Baidoa, Somalia, he divides his time between Cape Town, South Africa, and Minneapolis, where he holds the Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. His most recent novel, Crossbones, was published by Riverhead in September 2011.

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