The Last Speaker of Skalwegian
by David Gardner
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 19 Feb 2022
Professor Lenny Thorson lives in a defunct revolving restaurant, obsesses over word derivations, and teaches linguistics at a fourth-rate college with a gerbil for a mascot. Lenny’s thirty-four years have not been easy—he grew up in a junkyard with his widowed father and lives under a cloud of guilt for having killed another boxer as a teenager.
Desperate to save his teaching career, Lenny seizes the opportunity to document the Skalwegian language with its last living speaker, Charlie Fox. Life appears to have finally taken a turn for the better…
Unfortunately for Lenny, it hasn’t. He soon finds himself at war with Charlie, his dean, a ruthless mobster, and his own conscience.
"Lenny is the type of hero worth rooting for. Tough but not arrogant, smart but not stuffy, he will stir the reader's curiosity, making them wonder where this rollicking adventure will ultimately land him. A genial protagonist will keep readers enticed throughout this amusing romp." Kirkus Review
Average rating from 9 members
This was a perfect mix of humour and of course mystery. I loved it. I really do appreciate it when authors create the perfect balance between humour and mystery because I don’t think we see much in books and this well and truly satisfied my craving. I thought the characters were really well written and the mystery kept me on my toes! 5 out of 5 stars!
The Last Speaker of Skalwegian was an amusing read. Well written, evenly paced and fun to read. I really enjoyed the shenanigans in this book.
David Gardner's The Last Speaker of Skalwegian follows Lenny, a gentle giant and absent minded professor as he works to document a dying language. Lenny teaches at a last in class university, where the dean is in cahoots with some unsavory characters with nefarious intentions. The dean has ill will toward Lenny as Lenny won't give the star football players passing grades, as they haven't earned them.
Looking for romance? Mystery? Intrigue? Look no further, this book contains it all.
The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is the second novel by American author, David Gardner. It’s only after he has been working on the Skalwegian language for three months, after he has applied for and received a hefty government research grant, that linguistics professor Lenny Thorsen realises that Charlie Fox, the last speaker of Skalwegian, might not be the real deal. And that’s a problem.
After three years of teaching French at Ghurkin College in the small Massachusetts town of New Skalvik, where he is expected to issue As for football jocks despite non-attendance, Lenny jumps at the chance to document a dying language. Skalwegian was spoken on the tiny island of Skalvik, near Norway, until the population migrated to New Skalvik over two hundred years earlier, and learned English.
Documenting Skalwegian, as Lenny explained to Daniela Fox, the gorgeous co-anchor of News at Noon on local TV station WDRK, might just prevent the extinction of a language, should help with securing tenure, and he just loves the work. But if this counterfeiting of a language is revealed, his career and reputation are ruined.
When Charlie gives a (partial) explanation of why he is virtually creating a new language, Lenny faces a dilemma: the motive is pure, but the consequences of failure or discovery are unthinkable. Before the year is out, Lenny will be the target of four or five assassination attempts, there will be a murder, a kidnapping, and blackmail with regards the stipulations of a lucrative will. And Lenny will, mysteriously, acquire the apparently fearsome title of The Lobsterman.
Gardner’s plot is sometimes a little convoluted and involves an element of slapstick and plenty of absurdity, especially with the character names, where there’s a bit of nominative determinism going on. There are few ordinary people in this story: almost every character is quirky, weird, strange, odd, or eccentric.
Our linguist is caretaker of a revolving ex-restaurant which sporadically, and quite unpredictably, rotates, where he dines on a frozen cache of lobster tails, boysenberries and ginger and citrus tea, while avoiding cases of mediocre wine. He is easily distracted by words, his thoughts shooting off in tangents as he puzzles over their derivations. And plagued by a guilty secret from his past…
The supporting cast includes an ageing Godiva, a corrupt Police Chief, a money-grubbing college dean siphoning off funds for his personal gain, a local businessman with underworld connections, several hitmen named Bob, and a resourceful army vet. Readers in the mood for silliness, with occasional laugh-out-loud moments and some sweet romance will find this one entertaining.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Encircle Publications/Books Go Social.
I absolutely loved this book, it was enthralling from the start and I was dissapointed when it finished, I would definitely recommend this book, one of the best mysteries I have read this year