Mánasteinn – drengurinn sem aldrei var til is a 2013 novel by Icelandic poet, novelist, lyricist, and screenwriter Sjón. Set in 1918, it explores the dramatic moment when Iceland declared independence from Denmark, which coincided with the introduction of cinema to Reykjavík, the eruption of Katla, and the deadly Spanish flu epidemic. The plot revolves around a young gay man who is obsessed with cinema during these catastrophic years. There’s forbidden love, imaginative escapism, and the horrific reality of a viral pandemic taking over.
This is the 2023 edition by Brazilian publisher PONTOEDITA, translated from the Icelandic to the Portuguese by Pedro Monfort and titled Mánasteinn – o menino que nunca existiu. The book design makes reference to advertising posters for Louis Feuillade’s Les vampires – a French silent movie from 1915 that has a key role in Sjón’s novel. The cover reproduces original art by Brazilian visual artist Vinicius Alves, printed in black ink on metallic Pantone Silver.
The title is playfully designed with Le Murmure (Velvetyne) in order to represent a stylised question mark. The sharpness of the composition forms alludes to Expressionist aesthetics and the use of alternatives m, n, q, j, and r adds an organic color to the otherwise squareness of the composition.
Body text is set in Jan Tschichold’s Sabon; adjacent texts and page numbers are set inNeue Haas Unica.