Friday, May 4, 2007

Storyteller by G. R. Grove (A)

StorytellerAvailable from
Cover: somewhat ambiguous.

A unique blend of history, myth and fantasy, circa 6th Century Britain, that's as magical as the old Wales lore.

In Storyteller you will find a well written story of Gwernin, a wandering storyteller in 6th century Britain, and his search of fame and glory as a bard. As he journeys in search of the fulfillment of his hopes and dreams, he meets magicians and mythic characters, who may or may not be part of his imagination, and the story weaves elements of reality, myth, and Gwernin's imagination into a gem-like polished whole.

The first thing that strikes you as you read Storyteller is the voice. Consider, for instance, this example of the strong writing throughout the book.
The silence was eerie, with a faint echo in it as of the wind, or the sea in a shell, or distant music, so that when a bit of stone dislodged by who-knows-what dropped from somewhere above and plopped into one of the pools near me, I jumped, and stumbling on the uneven footing, found myself almost over the edge before I knew it. As I teetered on the brink, I dimly saw a leering face with snakes for hair peering out at me from among the broken tiles at my feet, and in the roof above me I heard a rustle of wings.
The story action and the voice of the first person work seamlessly to give us an intimate portrait of Gwernin and his imagination as he meets characters from myths and legends. We are never sure whether these are the product of his mind or real in any sense, what is certain is that we are experiencing Gwernin's mind at work, and such intimacy makes the Storyteller an unusually wonderful experience, giving us a glimpse into the creative process of the character's imagination.

Storyteller is also an unexpectedly moving reading because Gwernin is an honest, loyal, if somewhat naïve, fellow with a great deal of imagination, who seems to easily fall into trouble that sometimes dictates the course of his progress. The episodes of the story make us wander whether Gwernin will ever become the bard that he seeks to be, given the fact that he is not exactly endowed with a talent for narrative.

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