Book Review – Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
Book: Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was
Year of Release: 2013
Read 147-page hardcover edition in January 2017.
In 1918 Iceland, the island is facing a variety of challenges. Incoming political change with Denmark. The prospect of the Great War occurring in Europe. Volcanic eruptions on Katla. The spanish flu outbreak. And most importantly to 16-year-old Mani Steinn, the continued development of the cinema.
We follow young Mani as he explores the cinema, his passion, and as he goes through his life in Reykjavik as a closeted gay person, unable to come out, and with only an elderly woman as his family.
As change ebbs and flows across Iceland, we see how Mani’s life changes with it, in this poetic novella from Icelandic author Sjon.
This was a fascinating and very lyrical story about a country and character of mystery. The author tells the story in a way that is very poetic, with a number of quotes and a couple of photos placed in the tale that add to the richness of what is being told.
We get right into the head of the main character, and see how he feels growing up very much alone in the capital of Iceland, feeling very much an outsider, but working with those feelings and putting his passion into the cinema, which has arrived recently.
As Mani discovers sex, the cinema, and deals with challenges including the spanish flu, understanding his family background, and homophobia, we learn more about what it was like to be in this time and space.
The author does a great job painting a picture of the character and the setting, through very poetic and flowing prose.
Although at times this was a little hard to fully understand, and it almost felt too short, it was definitely well worth the read.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars