Monday, December 31, 2007

G.R. Grove; Storyteller

G.R. Grove’s book “Storyteller” is sort of difficult to categorize. It’s historical fiction, but a sort of whimsical fiction which is told in the tradition of the Canterbury tales. The book is a collection of individual tales, wound by the bard Gwernin. As he travels about telling his stories chapter by chapter, the wider story is revealed of his travels around Wales during the middle ages. You are introduced to an evolving, colourful cast of characters that Gwernin meets along the way, as well as those who accompany him on various adventures. As they travel, the reader hears stories of legendary England, including tales of King Arthur. You follow Gwernin through various life-experiences, and even as he falls in love.

I sort of expected this book to be much like the required reading of my High School AP English class; a chore to read and hard to retain. However it was not. It was a pleasure to read this book. Storyteller is an extremely friendly read, with a well-researched foundation, and a light-hearted tone. There is no doubt of the author’s knowledge and expertise on the historical material in this book; however it is not presented in a burdensome or pretentious manner.

I confess that this style of book would not normally attract me as a reader. I tend to shy away from historical fiction. I find that more often than not, this genre is simply written as a means for an erudite author to show off his/her knowledge of historical subject matter, and the story, no matter how good, can be completely obliterated by the profusion of archaic terms and facts. Storyteller has shown me that this isn’t always the case, and that sometimes a good book is just a good book. G. R. Grove is clearly an excellent writer. I can’t find anything to criticize about the author’s style or voice. The first paragraph will snag you and you will be engaged throughout. Then you will be dropped off at the last paragraph wanting more. Luckily, the author has provided us with a sequel, which I will be reviewing soon.

I have been given no choice but to give “Storyteller” a full five medallions. It is not run-of-the-mill work by any means. It isn’t what I normally read, but it has me looking forward to the next installment. I recommend this book to anyone who just loves a good story; for there are plenty of those to be had in “Storyteller.”

Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: (January 3, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143030524X
ISBN-13: 978-1430305248