Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen

July 10, 2019 - 5:21 am 1 Comment

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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?

Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen

Published by josephtailor on 28th March 2019

608 pages

When a stranger turns up injured at Gunner’s place, a story is told to wile away the hours. Gunnar was a hermit, a blacksmith by trade who spent the majority of his time with just the company of his dog. From page one I was hooked, I took an instant liking to Gunner and as his story continued I did start to feel sorry for him as all he wanted was a simple life without the threat of nosy villagers.

Set in Iceland, the author draws on the tradition of storytelling and as you read this book, you are fortunate to read two stories instead of one. The story alternates between the present as you follow Gunner, struggling with his own health, whilst having to put up with an unwanted guest and the past as Sigurd’s tells a tale of young love. Whilst the stories run parallel with each other, there was no confusion, each story was labelled clearly and I found myself wanting to know more about Juana and Arnar.

This story was beautifully written, the scenic descriptions made the cold land of Iceland sound so beautiful and magical. One of my favourite scenes was when Juana saw the Northern lights for the first time. There was a mystery running throughout the story, which I can honestly say I did not work out until it was all revealed. Whilst the story starts off at a steady pace, the pace quickens as more is found out about Sigurd and I knew that I had to finish this book before I went to sleep. This book will bring out various emotions and even when it was a life or death situation, there was still some comedy moments which broke up the tension.

I still cannot believe that this is a debut novel and I will definitely look out for more from this author.

Author Bio

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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One Response to “Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen”

  1. Bjørn Larssen Says:

    Thank you so much for your time and review! I hope you got enough sleep after all 🙂

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