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Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen revolves around Gunnar (a blacksmith), an uninvited/unknown guest, Sigurd, and a very strange community in Iceland. Gunnar is a very private person who doesn't like anybody other than his dog and his horse. He doesn't keep track of time, days, or dates. He is still mourning the death of his mother and father -- both long gone. Iceland has a prohibition on alcohol; however, Gunnar's medical condition gets him alcohol by doctor's orders. He doesn't like to accept it, but he is an alcoholic. Sigurd appears, almost out of nowhere, in Gunnar's forge, hands him all his money in exchange for some help with his hurt ankle. The pain in his ankle is so severe that he is almost immobile. To pass the time, he starts telling Gunnar a story. Considering the fact that Sigurd is dependent on Gunnar's care, he can't get rid of the unwelcome visitor yet. As if these problems weren't enough, a spinster is hellbent on marrying a very reluctant Gunnar. His patience is wearing thin, but there is nothing he can do to get rid of these people.
When I started reading the book, I was under the impression that the story Sigurd was telling was the main plot. It made me believe that whenever the author came back to the lives of Gunnar and Sigurd, it was only to provide readers with a distraction. However, soon I realized that it was part of the main plot. Bjørn Larssen, the author, merged both the parts to my amusement and intrigue. The characters of Sigurd's story were passionate, hard-working, outspoken, impulsive, and violent. Juana stole from her own family and ran with Arnar for love. Nonetheless, the idea of love soon appeared to be more fascinating than the reality of it. Gunnar's simplicity, unintentionally funny comments, and mood swings made him my favorite character. I highly recommend this genius book. Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen will entertain all patient readers, who enjoy taking time to read a well-written plot, understanding the characters, connecting the dots, and learning about the dark side of a human being.