March’s Guest Storyteller, Björn Rudberg

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Björn Rudberg is a blogger and a poet hailing from Stockholm Sweden. He has a PhD in physics but works with businesses in the tech-industry. He writes flash fiction and is a regular contributor to Friday Fictioneers. He manages an online community for poetry, dVerse (http://dversepoets.com), and is also one of the contributing toads at Real Toads (http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com). He is a member of a writing community in Stockholm that has produced one collaborative collection of short stories, Keyhole Stories, and is in the process of producing its second collection.


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Sarah says: I’m delighted to welcome Björn as my guest storyteller this month. I first met him through Friday Fictioneers, where his almost weekly contributions have always impressed me. He’s an adventurous writer, who is happy to experiment with various techniques of storytelling, sometimes combining poetry and prose. Whatever he produces, he always manages to surprise and intrigue me, whether it’s dark, satirical, or on a subject he feels passionate about. Do visit his blog, Björn Rudbergs Writings  after you’ve finished here, and I’m sure you’ll agree with what I’m saying.    

But enough from me. I’ll hand you over to Björn now, who will tell you what his story is about, and he has provided us with a soundcloud recording of his story too!

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Björn says: Writing flash-fiction is very much like writing poetry to me, I try to keep a rhythm in my language (actually it’s often close to iambic meter). I have chosen a story from last year that represents the writing I like best. The story is actually a parable about human trafficking where I have chosen Charon the ferryman as the trafficker.

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PAYING THE FERRYMAN

My boat is ready when they come in groups. Orphans, elderly, unshaven men and teenage girls.

The mica in their eyes reflect the river; fear; and in their hands they clutch my fee. But there are those I leave behind. They sleep in tents, and call for help.

They try in vain to trade their goods for coins.

I have a small collection, bribes and trinkets, and my bed is always warmed by girls believing they can melt my granite soul.

I am Charon and my fee is fixed; and worse than Hades is the nothingness of being left behind.

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

       

Review: Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a an exceptionally quirky story. It’s main characters are a hitman who enjoys breaking legs and various other limbs for money, until he starts reading the Bible; a woman priest sacked from her job who doesn’t believe in God but has a brilliant brain for business, and a male receptionist at the hotel where the hitman is staying after release from prison for the nth time.

It took me a while to get into this novel, mostly due to the strong authorial voice employed. Once I’d accepted that Jonas Jonasson was narrating the tale as would someone versed in the oral tradition of storytelling, and I got into the rhythm of it, then the novel grew on me.

On the dust-jacket of the novel, words such “outrageously zany”, “many laughs”, a “comic delight”, and “feel-good” are applied to it.

Did I think it was funny? I guess so, but more like amusing than hilariously funny. Yes, it was zany. Maybe some of the hilariousness was lost in translation and different nationalities often have different senses of humour. To a Swedish person, the book is probably hilarious. To a British person, not so hilarious. Maybe it’s because I’m used to Nordic noir and not so used to Swedish comedy.

Humour beside, it’s a clever plot, with plenty of twists, turns, and double-crossings. The discussions between the hitman and the priest about God are priceless. In fact, I like the banter and dialogue best.

All in all, if you want to read a novel that doesn’t take too much effort and, in a diverse way (considering the subject matter), does have a feel-good factor rather like watching a farce on television or in the theatre, then give this a go.

I was smiling whilst writing this review, so the novel must have left behind some positive traces.

Give it a go. I’ll certainly try another of Jonasson’s novels in the future.