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Troll Valley Kindle Edition

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Length: 264 pages

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More About the Author

Lars Walker is a native of Kenyon, Minnesota and a graduate of Augsburg College, Minneapolis. He grew up on a farm, and has worked as a crab meat packer in Alaska, a mail clerk, an administrative assistant, and a radio announcer, and is now librarian and bookstore manager for the schools of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations in Minneapolis. He is editor of the Journal of the Georg Sverdrup Society, and is a Viking reenactor and Norwegian translator. His website is www.larswalker.com, and he blogs at www.brandywinebooks.net.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Baker on January 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My primary complaint with Lars Walker is that I have read all of his books. He set his hook deep with Year of the Warrior. I have hungered for more ever since.

Lars wrote his first three books (Year of the Warrior, Wolf Time, and Blood and Judgment) for the well-known sci-fi and fantasy publisher Baen Books. I'm not sure that Baen ever really knew how to market Lars' work. Still, he has a growing cult following. I am convinced there is money to be made in buying the rights to his work from Baen.

He wrote a fourth volume for Nordskog (a sequel to Year of the Warrior called West Oversea). I heartily recommend them all, though Year is my personal favorite. I have read from it to stunned silence from underclassmen and professors alike. The book has impact. Gene Veith prefers Wolf Time.

Now, Lars has bravely taken the path of writing a book directly for Amazon and the other ebook formats. Troll Valley is available for a mere $2.99 at Amazon. I happily loaded it on my kindle and read it like some guilty pleasure which would occasionally turn my emotions inside out.

The story revolves around a young man named Chris Anderson. He is the grandchild of Norwegian immigrants living in Minnesota in the early 20th century. There are three outstanding facts about Chris. He has a deformed arm he bitterly compares to a duck's wing. He has an honest-to-goodness fairy godmother (it is she who is made terrible by her love for him). And when he feels angry, inferior, or threatened, strange things happen. Though it sounds like it, this book is not for children.

I am not enough of a student of literature to say what genre this book fits into, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would call it something like Christian magical realism.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cedarlila on April 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chris Anderson's story, as read by his dissolute great-grandson, is one full of magic, turmoil, and in the end, no great happiness but a coming of peace. I always enjoy Lar's books, and this one was no exception. He makes me think, and engages the imagination with the parallel world of magic intersecting with Chris's mudane life that is tormented by his disability, giving Chris the ability to endure and grow despite it. There is a good bit of preaching in this tale, toward the end, but it's the good sort of preaching that is really teaching, and even non-Christians ought to be interested in the tale of what Christians ougth to be and so seldom are.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher D. Hall on April 14, 2012
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This was my first Lars Walker novel. I must admit my expectations were low going in, especially seeing this was published only as an e-book. Boy, was I wrong.

Troll Valley is a wonderful tale of magic realism, told exceptionally well. The story is told framed with a subplot in the present (which doesn't work nearly as well), and is episodic in the way that John Irving writes. It is a tale of folk belief, of immigrants, of faith and the forces at work which brought us out of the industrial area into Twentieth Century modernism.

It's not perfect. As I wrote above, the framing of the story in the present day doesn't work well. There are a few uneven patches here and there, especially toward the end when the protagonist changes a little too quickly toward the tragic. But apart from these, it is a wonderful novel.

I finished the book rapidly and already miss the characters and even the setting, which is not easy for an author to pull off. Highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more by Mr. Walker.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brief disclaimer: Lars Walker is a friend and fellow author whose works I have admired for a long time, especially his Father Ailil stories set during the late Viking era. That said, I do my best to not be biased in representing my take on his efforts.

Troll Valley is the latest novel available from the keenly sharpened pen of author Lars Walker. I finished it last week and the impact of the narrative was such that I immediately felt like I wanted to write about it. However, the realization hit me that I needed to process the story a bit to actually speak properly to the scale of the work.

And so, here I am a two weeks later and I'm still processing. However, I think I can now place into words a pale reflection of how the story spoke to me.

Troll Valley comes with a tag-line of, "The fairy tale your grandparents never told you." There is a fundamental truth in that. This is a fairy tale of the old, dark, original Grimm's variety. Fairy is strange and dangerous and subtle - except when it's not, but by then you're already doomed so it doesn't matter.

The story evolves from an initial scene of emergency intervention being conducted in the life of a young man of privilege: Shane Anderson. Shane wakes from his most recent bender in an upper room of the family's mansion, securely strapped into a hospital bed and watched over by a detox specialist named Robert Swallowtail. During the course of their first conversation, Mr. Swallowtail presents the two main tools he plans on using to help Shane get his life back together: a bible and a stack of yellowed writing paper with a cover sheet that reads "Troll Valley: The Memoirs of Christian Anderson of Epsom, Minnesota".

And that's where the core of the story hits.
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