book recommendations · Book review

Backlog Book reviews: Storytellers by Bjorn Larssen

Hey readers,

I am still catching up on my backlog of book reviews (full time job and constant reading take some juggling but that’s a separate blog post ) and I have a beauty of a book for you today. Not only does it look amazing but it is a great read.

From Goodreads:

In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember his existence – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.

Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith’s other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even that wicked elf has plans for the blacksmith.

As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?

The author is an ex-blacksmith, lover of all things Icelandic, physically located in Amsterdam, mentally living in a log cabin near Akureyri. He has published stories and essays in Polish and American magazines, both online and in print. This is his first novel.

Storytellers is a great tale of loss, love and sweeping landscape of Iceland. Gunnar just wants to be left alone to live his life and drink in peace with his dog. Then one day a man appears on his doorstep – Sigurd has a broken ankle and has no choice but to stay with Gunnar while he heals. Gunnar is not happy about it at all but why Sigurd is there he tells a story about a town that has experienced unimaginable loss and how the women of that town became something more.

Evocative writing are the words that I was looking for when i was writing this review because thats how it felt!

I really enjoyed this book, it was a story within a story that made you keep reading until the ending wraps you up and all makes sense. Gunnar is unlikable but it is that very characteristic that makes you keep reading. You want to hear the rest of the story just like he does and you want to keep exploring this story with him.

The writing in this book draws you into the Icelandic landscape and it feels like you are actually there. You feel what Gunnar feeps and his confusion as his life is changed and the emotions that he feels as the story plays out.

This is a great debut novel and is well worth the read. I’d love to know if you’ve read this one or plan to.

Lizbie x

** Thank you to the author for the copy of this book. All opinions are my own. **

One thought on “Backlog Book reviews: Storytellers by Bjorn Larssen

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