Tales of Johan by David Harris Wilson

I found that Tales of Johan by David Harris Wilson was one of those novels you can't put down. 

The protagonist is Iain Broderick who comes from Inverdaig, a remote village on the west coast of Scotland and you go with him as he learns about his own family history and that of an old Scandinavian man who has lived in Iain's village for many years. The old man is Johan and he is an amazing story teller; Iain's narrative is interspersed with Johan's stories which are lyrical, magical and enthralling. 

Author David Harris Wilson skilfully draws you into Iain's life and you become fascinated by Inverdaig, its people, history and customs. The stories that Johan tells have the authentic voice of true folk tales and you feel the cultural links between Scandinavia, Brittany and Scotland as you listen to them; and that is what is good about this writing: you really feel you are in the room as Johan tells his tales. 

There is a large cast of characters and whether their part in the story is large or small each one is rounded and interesting. There is some very good descriptive writing of various aspects of nature notably the sea which is poetic and creates evocative images as you read; however this doesn't slow the pace of the novel which is a page-turner right through to the end. 

Tales of Johan is a well written novel with a strong sense of place and culture, an interesting and unusual story line and excellent characterisation. It's a lovely story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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