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Storytellers

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4.51  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  42 reviews
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 anima ...more
Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published March 28th 2019 by Josephtailor
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4.51  · 
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 ·  61 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Whispering Stories
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Tina on www.whisperingstories.com

The novel tells the tale of Gunner, a misanthropic blacksmith living in Iceland in 1920. He finds an injured old man, Sigurd, and brings him into his hut. Gunner is an alcoholic and a loner but allows Sigurd to stay with him. To distract Gunner from his true goals, Sigurd begins to tell him a story. The side story is set four decades earlier, following young Arnar and his American bride Juana as they settle in Iceland.

The two plots that eventuall
...more
Justine
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
There was sun somewhere behind them, but it couldn't find a way out. And right now, neither could he.

Gunnar, hermit blacksmith lives in solitude on the outskirts of Klettafjörður, a small village where there is no such thing as a secret kept. His only wish is to live out his days in peace with his "medicine" to keep the darkness at bay, and out of the scrutinizing eye of his fellow villagers. One day Sigurd, a mysterious stranger, shows up on Gunnar's doorstep with a broken ankle, a bag filled w
...more
Penni
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book! I had the great privilege of reading this early, and let me tell you, I am honored I did.

Hermit blacksmith Gunnar just wants to be left the hell alone with his animals and his "medication" (re: booze) so he can while away his days at his smithy and pass his nights dead asleep. He's not good with people and resents any time he has to spend with anyone (including the doctor who "prescribes" his "medicine"). Unfortunately for Gunnar, fate has other plans.

Sigurd seemingly app
...more
Courtney Giraldo
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ekkkkk!! This book is so special to my little bookworm heart. Not only does it take place in one of my favorite places in the world, Iceland, but it is written by a fellow Bloggess lover (you do remember my obsession with Jenny Lawson, no?).

Gunnar lives a quietly predictable, if lonely (although I am sure he would argue that he’s not) life in rural Iceland in 1920. When a bedraggled injured stranger shows up on his door step, Gunnar unenthusiastically allows him lodgings until his broken foot is
...more
Terry Tyler
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - it was a delight to read, an unusual debut novel by a writer with much talent.

The story tells of village blacksmith Gunnar, who is (at first glance) quite happy living in his shack with his dog, Ragnar, and his 'medicine' (alcohol). One night, he takes in a climber with a broken ankle, Sigurd; with reluctance, Gunnar agrees to take care of him until he can walk again. From the outset, it is clear that there is much mystery surrounding the stranger.

Meanwhile, Gunnar's life is
...more
Rosie Amber
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Storytellers is historical fiction written in the style of an Icelandic saga.

The book opens in 1920 with Gunnar, a blacksmith who rescues an injured climber. He takes the man to his home. Gunnar has lived alone for several years; his house is basic and his lifestyle simplistic.

The climber, known as Sigurd, persuades Gunnar to keep his presence a secret from the villagers. He pays Gunnar a large amount of money to let him stay while his ankle mends. It’s March and Spring is yet to show; during th
...more
Angela
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this advance copy from the author and this is my honest opinion:
It’s an interesting book with 2 stories interwoven together. It’s a bit confusing with the similar non English characters name but the story is intriguing enough to keep reading to find out what happens.
Alison
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
An evocative setting, a cast of unusual and intriguing characters, a story within a story, and a dog. What more could you want?
This is an impressive debut novel from an author who really knows how to tell a story. We meet Gunnar, a blacksmith, when he allows an injured climber, Sigurd, to recover and recuperate in his home. While the climber’s ankle heals, the long dark nights are filled with a story, told by Sigurd, of a young couple and their life in a remote village in Iceland. The characters
...more
Aurora Shele
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
I was excited to read a book about Iceland. This is the first book I have read set in Iceland, a country I have always wanted to visit but haven't yet. The book is set in 1920s in a small town in Iceland where very few habitants live and they tell stories to pass the time in the long dark and cold Icelandic nights. They all drink coffee, a lot of coffee.

This book is a story within a story. Gunnar, a lonely blacksmith, finds and hosts a injured man coming from America. A bit like Sheherazade's t
...more
Marian Thorpe
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set against Iceland’s harsh but beautiful landscape in the late 19th and early 20th century, Bjørn Larssen’s debut novel Storytellers explores the multi-generational effect of the evasions, embellishments and outright lies told in a small village. The book begins slowly, almost lyrically, pulling the reader into what seems like situation borrowed from folktale: a reclusive blacksmith, Gunnar, rescues an injured stranger, Sigurd. In exchange for his care, Sigurd offers Gunnar a lot of money, and ...more
Jessica Jenifer
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shalyn
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was hard to put down. Intrigue, folklore, adventure, humor...I'd highly recommend it.
Gretchen Davies
Like a snowstorm, slowly piling up until an avalanche, so was this book. The characters were strong, and I ended up sympathizing for Gunnar, the main character. I enjoyed a glimpse into life in Iceland through this book. The climax of the book was near the end and was full of surprises.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I loved Iceland when I visited briefly a few years ago although we didn't get to see the Northern Lights. The stunning display pictured on the Storytellers cover caught my eye and I'm glad to say that the story inside is just as powerful. Storytellers is set in the 1920s, with characters also remembering events from several decades before, and I was impressed with Larssen's historical portrayals. Rural Iceland wasn't at the cutting edge of th
...more
Jenn
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down! Terrific story!
Dees Dorszewska
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read, very funny, moving and surprising. I was unable to put it away before midnight. Had to know what happens to the blacksmith Gunnar and his unexpected guest Sigurd, who pays for the (quite reluctant) care not only with a big amount of money, but most of all - by telling a story. So there's a story within another and the two will eventually meet in a most delightful way. The characters make the reader think about "Tortilla Flat" by John Steinbeck. If you don't believe that the bl ...more
Marli King
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I have trouble believing this was a first novel! The characters were real people with distinct personalities and quirks. I found myself being drawn in rather quickly and found the book increasingly difficult to put down as I tried in vain to imagine what would happen next and how it would all end. And I really wish I was half as good at writing a review as Mr. Larssen is at writing a novel! Just read the book!
Kelly
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away. It's a terrific story within a story, both of wich have rich characters and are very compelling. There are characters you hate to love, and love to hate. There's action and adventure. The twists and turns made this book one I couldn't put down. I can't wait to see what comes next from Bjorn Larssen because I need MORE!

I received this advance copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.
Adella Averill
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating. Each day, I couldn't wait for the chance to read it and see what came next for the characters! The end was satisfying, but I wish I could have spent more time with these people. I would love to see a new adventure for the main character. I also loved getting to "see" Iceland, the author did a great job of bringing it to life!
Betty
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the very first line to the end of the book I was hooked. Here you get the joy of not one but two stories that intertwine until coming together at the finish. I waited months for the release and I couldn't be happier. Mr Larssen had written a masterfull first offering that I sincerely hope is soon followed with another because I'm left wondering what happens next.
Katarzyna
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good piece of storytelling, with lots of humour, drama and murder. I loved the narration style and dialogues. May read again at some point.
Jo Conklin
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It takes a lot of skill to turn an unlikable character into the sympathetic protagonist of an engaging story, and this book delivers. Hauntingly atmospheric, it somehow shows us all the dark bleakness of the place while inspiring us with wanderlust to see it. The author's love of Iceland shines through, as does his gift for weaving stories and people together into a poignant and evocative whole.
Sheila Patel
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. An excellent, well written first novel by this much talented author.

I loved the characters, well developed and interesting. Even though this is a slow paced book, it keeps you engaged and wondering about the outcome.

Gunnar, the lonely blacksmith with his loyal dog Ragnar live in a small house in Iceland. One night an injured traveller turns up, Gunnar reluctantly nurses him back to health in exchange for some old Icelandic stories. These are beautifully told, the love st
...more
Lena Doyle
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alfred Nobile
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dual timeline story. Iceland in the 1800's and 1920. More on the blog tour!
C.G.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although it's not my usual genre, it was written by a member of a couple of groups I belong to on Facebook and, not only did I want to support his writing, but I already knew he wrote well. And he does. The book is well-crafted and the characters well-drawn. (I just didn't like any of them!) The story within a story works well and keeps the reader guessing as to how they are going to overlap. The descriptions of winter and spring in Iceland made me feel cold and damp the whole time I was reading ...more
Chrissy
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Storytellers is a remarkable first book that draws the reader in through vivid descriptions, tantalizing characters, and two fast-paced plots. As the stories switch back forth, between Then and Now, the reader is carried along on a wild ride, wondering which plot will explode more quickly, which characters will implode, who will be left standing.

In a book full of unlikable people, there is, somehow, something to like about almost everybody. Larssen creates characters who are real - full of life
...more
Delaney Green
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bjorn Larssen’s debut novel, Storytellers, captures the sights, sounds, and smells of early 20th century small-town Iceland and weaves a mystery that shows the complex, contradictory motivations in the human heart. Larssen’s tale shifts effortlessly from 1920’s Iceland (“Now”) to a romantic saga from a generation earlier (“Then”), told by a stranger to the book’s protagonist, Gunnar Karlsson.

Gunnar, a reclusive alcoholic blacksmith, reluctantly offers shelter to the stranger, Sigurd, who has inj
...more
Traci Otte
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy from the author. This is my honest review.

The bulk of this book is a story within a story, and the whole time I was trying to figure out what was going on. It wasn't in a "ARGH! WHAT'S GOING ON!?!" sort of way but more like "Ooh... what's going on??? Must keep reading!"

I loved the character development, the descriptions of the houses (SO different from what we have here in the US!) and scenery, and the glimpses into Icelandic culture.

It's really hard for me to review
...more
Patricia
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely supurb piece of writing. Or should I say storytelling? For storytelling it is at its finest.

A stranger, Sigurd, is hurt and is taken in by a blacksmith named Gunnar. As he heals, he tells a story about a couple to Gunnar. The book goes back and forth from the past and the present and it's done quite flawlessly. Gunnar is always anxious to have Sigurd tell the next chapter in his story as are we. The ending was as good as it gets.

This is my book of 2019 and I can't wait for
...more
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Bjørn Larssen - writer, blacksmith, mathematician, graphic designer, model (not all at the same time) 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 Ma ...more
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