Sjóveikur í München

Hallgrímur Helgason


Artist Novel
Materials: ink, paper

Literary synopsis

Helgason’s first and only autobiographical novel, Sjóveikur í München (Seasick in Munich), describes one winter in the life of the author, when he studied art at the famous Art Academy in Munich in 1981–82. “The most difficult winter in my life,” according to the author. It’s a classic Bildungsroman but with a fantastical twist that nods both to Hamsun’s Hunger and Kafka’s A Hunger Artist. It’s the story of Young Man, a shy 21-year old from a provincial and isolated country, who for the first time in his life is made to live on his own, in a big European city. Shy, non-German speaking, and not fitting in with the latest trends at the Academy, he has a hard time adopting to the difficult Bavarian capital. He hasn’t even had a beer yet, since beer was banned in Iceland until 1989.
Very much an artist’s novel, it describes the soul-searching process of the Young Man, his quest for finding himself, and his wrestling with the giants of the past, like Halldór Laxness, Gustave Flaubert and Edvard Munch, but mostly Marcel Duchamp and The Large Glass.

Novel's website

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: No Link to Artworks.

Genre: Bildungsroman, Künstlerroman.

Publishing: Publishing House.

Theme: Art, Education System, Travels.

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