Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top ten 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:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Christie's crime novel is the original "island mystery" much imitated in other novels and films. A group of 10 people who all have at one point in their lives been involved in a murder and got away with it, are invited to an island where, one by one, they are murdered in ways relating to the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers". The murders are never explained as the killer is one of the 10 and kills himself in the end. It is surprisingly nasty book that turns a whole island into a nihilistic, murderous music box.
Read about the other books on the list.

And Then There Were None is one of Pascal Bruckner's five best books on guilt.

Also see Romesh Gunesekera's top ten island books.

--Marshal Zeringue