As a storyteller, myself, I was very interested in this one.
I was hooked from the start.
The characterisation is excellent – even the incidental people we meet on the way seem fully-fleshed out and not caricatures. The sense of place is very strong, especially when describing the magical Iceland (where the author admits he left his heart). The dialogue is honest / ‘true’, and, along with the story-within-a-story, draws the reader in, helping things to move along at a lovely pace.
At it’s core, ‘Storytellers’ is a novel about self-determination and self-belief – and discerning the magical in the mundane (a juxtaposition that always works brilliantly when done well, as it is here). We all write our own stories, whether we wish that were the case or not. We are each the protagonist in our personal narrative and, though we cannot always decide which events may unfold, we can decide on how we accept and approach our own tale. There are times we write it in the first person and everything else seems external, sometimes it seems we share chapters along the way, with the people that we meet. Often, our characters deliberately begin a new chapter – or even start an entirely new novel altogether.
What is a story? It needn’t be based on real events, though it often is. It needn’t be based on the unreal, though it often is.
Stories are an exploration of both the known and the unknown; throwing new light on old assumptions, and ancient light onto new ideas in the dark places of the world – and ourselves.
I highly recommend starting or continuing your adventure here.
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?
Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of “Iceland: Making Memories” (INT)
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