Wednesday 3 July 2019

BLOG TOUR: Storytellers - Bjørn Larssen

Today as part of the Rachel's Random Resources blog tour for Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen, I have my review and a giveaway for you, so do remember to scroll right down to enter.

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 him – 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 the wretched 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?

What did I think?

I've always been fascinated by the Northern Lights so I have to draw your attention to the amazing cover of Storytellers.  If I thought that was good, there's a passage describing the aurora borealis that really took my breath away.  The story isn't about the night sky though; it's just an added bonus as the scenery of Iceland is depicted by the colourful words of Brn Larssen.

I really like the character of Gunnar; he's a solitary chap who brews his own moonshine (his medicine) and can happily do without human interaction, after all he has his trusty dog, Ragnar, and a crazily slow moving horse with a mind of her own named Karl.  Gunnar's solitude is brought to an end when he finds a man with a broken ankle and brings him home to recuperate.  To pass the time, Sigurd tells Gunnar the story of Arnar who returns from America with his love Juana to set up home in Iceland.  What starts as a harmless story soon takes on a sinister edge as the past and present collide.

I had no idea of the direction in which the story was going to go and, although I was a bit confused with the Icelandic character names, I have to say that I rather enjoyed it.  It had an aura of possibility where anything could happen under the dancing lights of the sky; even a ginger elf started to appear and talk to Gunnar - his moonshine must be pretty potent stuff.  Gunnar trying to escape the clutches of Brynhildur amused me; she has really set her sights on him and she's not a woman you can easily say no to.  Other women you can't say no to are The Conservative Women of Iceland who descend on Gunnar with their bibles and crosses.  No wonder the poor man drinks!

Storytellers is a very cleverly plotted dual storyline novel that shifts and blurs reality like the aurora borealis.  Bjørn Larssen's words paint such a vivid picture that I had clear pictures in my mind as I was reading the book; his amazing imagination has been transferred to the page beautifully with an added sprinkling of humour that caused quite a few giggles as I was reading.  If you're looking for an unusual book that doesn't fit solely in any one genre, then you've found it in Storytellers.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon UK or Amazon US

About the author:

Bjørn Larssen was made in Poland. He is mostly located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one. Since then his short stories and essays were published in Rita Baum Art Magazine, Writer Unboxed, Inaczej Magazine),,, and Holandia Expat Magazine. He is a member of Alliance of Independent Authors and Writer Unboxed.

Bjørn has a Master of Science degree in mathematics, worked as a graphic designer, a model, and a blacksmith. He used to speak eight languages (currently down to two and a half). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland, even though he hates being cold. He has only met an elf once. So far.

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Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of “Iceland: Making Memories” (INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your time and review – and for making me laugh with the comment about the Conservative Women descending with Bibles and crosses :D

    Thank you for your kind words about the passage on Northern Lights. It was written right after I witnessed the lights in Reykjavík, around 1am, I could even check the date. We went back home afterwards and I said "can't go to sleep yet, I have to rewrite something RIGHT NOW".