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Don't Tell Me The Truth About Love Paperback – 14 Feb 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (14 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841956139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841956138
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 502,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

With this new collection of short stories, Dan Rhodes keeps as his subject the intricacies and deficiencies of desire, but his methods have changed. At some junctures he appears to be aiming for the mythopoetic tone and ominous symbolism of fairy tale--more than one of these pieces, for instance, is set in a dark, foreboding, Hansel-and-Gretel type forest. An example is the story "Painting", where an artist creates a portrait of a lady so beautiful it slays with love all who see it (uncannily like Monty Python's "funniest joke in the world", which kills with laughter all who hear it). Other stories come across as mainstream, but turn out equally pixilated: "Violoncello" evolves from a family saga in modern Vietnam to a weird fable about a boy becoming a musical instrument; "Landfill" has a prosaic face but the undertone is magical realist. Yet one of the very best stories, "The Carolingian Period", is set squarely in a very real world: academia. It tells the melancholy story of an old architecture professor in too much of a hurry, and it shows quite how moving Rhodes can be especially when he isn't turning post-modern literary tricks.

Rhodes's first collection, Anthropology, was a quiver of literary arrows: an ensemble of pointed pithy and often very poignant short stories focusing principally on the anguish and lunacy of love. As such it won much praise and attention, despite, or because of, its peculiarities of style. Don't Tell Me The Truth About Love is no less intriguing. --Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

By the time you find the story you most relate to, you won't be sorry to be alone after all. (The Sun)

...bittersweet yet absurdly magical stories that will pull at your heart strings. By forcing the hitherto unobservable, he shows us an unknown world.

... it's frequently hilarious, and certainly memorable.

...the story turns into a moving dissertation upon the nature and profundity of romantic love, and the all but unbearable effect of its loss......Not until the end do you realise just how good this book is, haunting you long after it has been put down.

"For all the picturebook simplicity of Rhodes' storytelling his characters are rarely less than credible, and the emotion genuine.

(The Times)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Someone's already described Rhodes' idea of love as "Eden with bear-traps" and that isn't far out. He's both a cynical realist and a total romantic. Of course you can find a magician to change you into a cello, so that the girl musician who doesn't love you will hold and play you forever. But there's a catch - there always is. The message of these little fables, more or less, is "love's more trouble than it's worth but that won't stop it happening". It's like reading fairytales gone terribly wrong, and always with Rhodes' highly individual, engrossing style. Unputdownable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads on 28 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
`Don't Tell Me The Truth About Love' rather unsurprisingly given its title is a collection of love stories with a twist, brilliant, just my thing. If you are thinking these will be stories with a happy ending, you would be wrong. Like the proper versions of the fairytales we know and love from childhood, which are indeed much more sinister in their original form than Ladybird or Disney would have you believe, these are all wonderfully dark with some vicious and also hilarious twists as the tales develop. In fact the blurb of the book (I only tend to read these after I have finished a book, random fact, like I do other reviews and thoughts) does say this is `a homage to the brothers Grimm'.

There are seven stories in the collection all with one main theme, they all have a wonderful sense of magic, be they set in forests like `Glass Eyes' or in the modern world as `The Violoncello'. We have tales of unrequited love between old men and young beauties, old hags who magically entice young lovers, men willing to literally become instruments for women to play with, women so obsessed their lovers don't love them they will see how far they can test that love. As you can probably tell, love appears in many forms, always quite darkly and generally with a twist.

I will admit the first story `The Carolingian Period' worried me that I might be a little disappointed, it didn't do quite enough as a tale or effect me like I wanted it to, I also predicted the ending a little. That said it was still a great story, just having read Dan's other works I wanted more. `The Violoncello' changed all that. I admit I was thinking `if these are fairy stories why are we in modern Asia not the wooded lands' but the magical element kicked in and, if there is such a thing, it became an epic short story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Trewhella on 11 Feb. 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you liked Anthroplogy, then you will love this book. Each story is beautifully written and you will want to read them over and over again. Dan Rhodes has confirmed himself as one of the most important new writers of the 21st centuary.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Unlike his wonderful novel, Timoleon Vieta Come Home, Rhodes's plain, stripped-down, almost disaffected style of writing adds little to the benefit of his subject in these stories. It is love once again - in Timoleon the love of a dog for his master - here, loves of various kinds, which are given a series of strangely cool and half-joking work-outs.

The jokiness comes through in the grotesque extremes of some of these tales, notably in the last, Beautiful Consuela, where a woman deliberately makes herself ugly to find out if her husband really loves her. In another, much shorter story, a man whose bins have been taken away by the Council, makes a visit to a landfill site and falls for a beautiful girl who lives there in penury.

Many of these stories have a cosmopolitan setting - somewhere in France, or perhaps Spain - it is never quite clear, deliberately so, as Dan Rhodes eschews the cultural complexities of place and environment and concentrates on archetypes. A beautiful young girl, a handsome young man - it is not people that exercise his imagination so much as the things they represent.

I was disappointed in this collection, when measured against the sublime and disturbing experience of reading Timoleon Vieta Come Home.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There isn't a book by Dan Rhodes that I don't like. This is a brilliant collection of pure writing genius. I bought this as a birthday pressie peace offering, to a friend I had upset by buying her Timoleon Vieta Come Home which, incidentally was last year 's present! She was so traumatised after reading TVCH that our rock solid friendship almost crumbled like the Jurassic coastline.
She accepted this beautifully crafted collection of medium-sized stories. That's another thing about Dan's original style. He has very short, short, medium-sized, normal and long stories. He even has homemade published books now with his latest offering, The Prof...
Anyway, Don't Tell Me... has, as I understand, found it's place in her toilet for some good old fashioned solitary reading time!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I chose this book for my book group, having been given the genre of "short stories".

Like the other Dan Rhodes books I have read and loved (The Little White Car and Come Home Timoleon Vieta) this one did not disappoint. Extremely funny in places, tender and always unpredictable these stories were a joy to read!

I particularly loved Landfill and Beautiful Consuela for their innovative quality, the latter bearing a highly pertinent sentiment for our image-obsessed society.

I enjoyed the recurring themes of music and musical instruments and, of course, the unstoppable force of love.
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