41b. The Whispering Muse, by Sjon.
This one is a bit more playful than The Blue Fox. The narrator, Valdemar, is a diffident "expert" on why eating fish is the secret of Nordic cultural superiority. He publishes a journal on the subject and, through this, makes contact with a shipbuilding dynasty. Valdemar is invited to travel on the maiden voyage of one of their new ships.
Valdemar is fussy and upset that the food served on board has no fish whatsoever. He is furthermore affronted by a strange ritual after each evening meal, where the second mate recounts installments in the story of Jason and the Argonauts on the island of Lemnos, which was populated only by rapacious women.
Sjon intertwines the stories of the myth and the contemporary voyage, and invites the reader to draw some parallels, without ever making them plain. He blurs the lines beween myth and fact and, in the process, can leave the reader wondering how his narrative got to a particular point. This was a book I found myself flipping back and re-reading quite a lot.
That is all of Sjon, in English at least. Reading his novels I'm not at all surprised to find that he is a poet in his native tongue, and writes lyrics for Bjork. It all seems to fit with these sly, lyrical novellas.