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The Last Speaker of Skalwegian

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Professor Lenny Thorson lives in a defunct revolving restaurant, obsesses over word derivations, and teaches linguistics at a fourth-rate college with a gerbil for a mascot. Lenny's thirty-four years have not been easy—he grew up in a junkyard with his widowed father and lives under a cloud of guilt for having killed another boxer as a teenager.

Desperate to save his teachi
...more
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Published September 8th 2021
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Marianne
Oct 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is the second novel by American author, David Gardner. It’s only after he has been working on the Skalwegian language for three months, after he has applied for and received a hefty government research grant, that linguistics professor Lenny Thorsen realises that Charlie Fox, the last speaker of Skalwegian, might not be the real deal. And that’s a problem.

After three years of teaching French at Ghurkin College in the small Massachusetts town of New Skalvik, where h
...more
Nathan McConville
Nov 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I found this book great. The characters especially kept me interested along the way. The story itself was developed at a good pace and was a concept that was different from the usual. I found each characters quirks the main thing to keep me going until the end. Overall great read.
Chris Drew
Sep 26, 2021 rated it liked it
The Last Speaker of Skalwegian follows Lenny who, whilst working on the revival of Skalwegian, a language spoken by the ancestors of many in his local community, finds himself on the wrong side of organised crime. As the novel progresses, the absurdity certainly doesn't abate as the protagonist attempts to unravel himself from the mess in which he has become entwined and go back to his quiet, anonymous life.

As a linguist with a keen interest in minority/minoritised languages, the premise immedia
...more
Angela Sanford
Nov 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Being the second book by Author David Gardner, The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is a humorous thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat! When Professor Lenny Thorson agrees to help his friend Charlie Fox document the Skalwegian language, he was unaware of the trouble he was getting himself into. Teaching linguistics at Ghurkin College was the most excitement in Lenny's life but that changes when he comes up against the crooked dean of the college, a very determined mobster, a friend who ...more
Darcia Helle
Nov 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Life is hard. Sometimes we need levity in the form of a zany story to lighten the weight. The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is one such story.

Lenny, a college professor, sets out to help his friend document the Skalwegian language. From there, all sorts of chaos ensues.

The plot rolls forward on absurdist humor, so you can’t take the story seriously.

My favorite part was Lenny’s obsession with etymology. Often distracted by random words, he’d suddenly start tracing their history until he came upon t
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Matthew Cost
Oct 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, David Garner sends Lenny Thorson romping through the pages of novel riding the edge of humor AND suspense. With a humble attitude he bulls his way forward in protecting the woman he loves, his friends no matter how dishonest, as well as his enemies who reach lows rarely seen. Whether it is the school mascot, the frozen lobster tails, the revolving restaurant Lenny lives in, or a multitude of other amusing anecdotes packed into the story—you wi ...more
Katreader
Nov 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
THE LAST SPEAKER OF SKALWEGIAN
By David Gardner

Professor Lenny Thorson is up for tenure. Sure, the college is a two bit school with a gerbil for a mascot, but there are lots of PhDs who would take his job in a heartbeat. So he puts up with a horrible dean, as well as a lousy girlfriend. At least he has something meaningful in his life. He's working with Charlie Fox, the last known speaker of Skalwegian, in order to document that language, thereby saving it from extinction. Things start to get di
...more
CA Portnellus
Sep 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I did review this book on Amazon and Good Reads but somehow it has disappeared. Is it possible it was removed?
Anyway, I’ll give it quick one here.
It took me about 8 pages to dig in, getting used to the writing then I was hooked. Unsure if Skalwegian is a real thing-place or dialect but the premise of the story was good enough to snag me.
I got a kick out of the odd characters with their quirks and odd behaviors. The Professor of a college French course is studying the ancient Norwegian languag
...more
Sharon
Sep 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and slightly convoluted tale about Lenny, who teaches French at a community college and is working with a friend, Charlie, to save Skalwegian so the language doesn’t disappear. Lenny is often distracted by thinking about the origin of many words, and this dates back to his unconventional childhood and teen years. His current living situation is unorthodox, but you’ll need to read the book to see why. Some of the characters, like Lenny’s office mate Henri and girlfriend Elspeth, see ...more
Scott Lipanovich
It had been many years since I'd read a "campus" novel. David Gardner's The Last Speaker of Skalwegian, while it fits that category, is unlike any other I've encountered. It's a romp of a book, with wildly fractured characters, crazy plot twists, and amidst the whirling action, lots of love.

Ghurkin Hill College would never be confused with an Ivy League school. It's at best D-League. Everything about it, from corrupt Dean Sheepslappe to the shoddy work of the local construction baron, to the
...more
Lorna
Nov 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. By the title, I was expecting something quite different. This story revolves around a linguist professor ( Lenny) who has been involved in documenting the forgotten language of the Skalwegian. Lenny previously was a boxer who gave this profession up after causing the death of his opponent. He becomes someone who is easily used and taken advantage of until love and necessity changes this. There are many laugh out loud moments and also fearful ones. A great ...more
Kendra
Oct 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
Was this written in the 1970s or 80s? Was it not edited? Because it's one of the most sexist and gender-stereotyped and ugly things I've read in a while. The author's bio says he has a PhD, but seems not to know at all how academia works. He certainly doesn't know how to write anything without leaning heavily on double entendre, outdated and stale descriptions of women's bodies, or cliches. I can't believe anyone liked this. ...more
S. Manning
Oct 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
David Gardiner mixes together an absent minded professor who gets conned into protecting a non-existent language, a bunch of incompetent hitmen, an unscrupulous dean, and a giant gerbil to create a thriller worthy of Carl Hiaason. Lenny makes an appealing if slightly pathetic hero. Bravo.
Cindywho
Nov 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another goat rodeo from David Gardner aka a humorous send-up of Academia and small town mobster shenanigans. More fun than living in a revolving restaurant.
Raymond
Sep 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Quirky! I had a smile on my face for most of the book and even laughed out loud at times. Outrageous plot which constantly amused. There were some moments of suspense but you knew all would be resolved favorably. I’m not sure why I decided to read this book, but I’m glad I did.

I received an advance review copy for free, and am leaving this review voluntarily.
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David Gardner grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, served in Army Special Forces and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught college, worked as a reporter and sold women’s shoes.

He coauthored three programming books for Prentice Hall, wrote dozens of travel articles as well as too many mind-numbing computer manuals.

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy, also
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