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The Telling Room: A Tale of Passion, Revenge and the World's Finest Cheese Paperback – 2 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782112774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782112778
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.7 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

For my money, Paterniti is one of the most expansive and joyful writers around - big-hearted and humane and funny. This book is a wild and amazing ride (GEORGE SAUNDERS, author of TENTH OF DECEMBER)

The Telling Room captures the true essence of happiness - but what's more, it captures the fact that food is always central, always present in our memories, when we search for it. For those who doubt that food is our most vital social network, this book demonstrates it unequivocally (FERRAN ADRIA, chef, El Bulli)

Michael Paterniti is one of the best living practitioners of the art of literary journalism, able to fully elucidate and humanize the everyday and the epic. In his hands, every subject, every moment of personal or global upheaval, is treated with the same curiosity, respect, empathy, and clear-eyed wisdom (DAVE EGGERS)

The list of writers I would read even if they were to write about a piece of cheese is short, but it includes Michael Paterniti. He has proved here that if you love something enough, and pay a passionate-enough attention to it, the whole world can become present in it. That's true of both the cheese and the book (JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN, author of PULPHEAD)

The Telling Room is a gorgeous and impassioned monument to the art and mystery of storytelling. It is rich, funny, humane, devastating, and beautiful. It made me want to applaud, it made me want to cry, it made me want to move to Spain. Michael Paterniti is a genius (ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE)

Elegant, strange, funny, and insightful, The Telling Room is a marvelous tale and a joyful read, a trip into a world peopled by some of the most remarkable characters - and, yes, cheese - in memory (SUSAN ORLEAN, author of THE ORCHID THIEF)

An amazing achievement. The Telling Room is an inspired, masterly epic that expands and refigures the parameters of the storyteller's art (WELLS TOWER, author of EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED)

Few writers can write about the taste of food with Paterniti's vibrancy and precision... [He] is a master of finding and telling great stories (the finding, for most writers, often being as difficult as the telling) that appear to be about something small, such as cheese, but are actually about something far larger-in this case, the whole of human existence... As much as The Telling Room is about a Spaniard's quest to create a cheese that embodies all the love and pain and joy he's ever known, it's also the story of a writer's quest to channel that obsession into the perfect story (Esquire)

Paterniti immerses you in an immersion-friendly milieu of sun-baked highland plateaus, argumentative village rustics and beguiling old ways... There's no resisting the infectious writerly glee (New York Times)

A masterly, joyous piece of non-fiction storytelling that revels in its subject and provides a strangely gripping and moving tale about life, love, friendship, family, place - and cheese (Financial Times)

[The] best book of narrative nonfiction I've read in ages (Michael Pollan)

Rich and shaggy, full of Castilian-size detours, it is a travelogue, food adventure, and personal memoir rolled into one hugely likable book... In [The] Telling Room, Paterniti proves that the hardest quarry as a journalist is not the extraordinary, but the everyday (The Boston Globe)

Paterniti dives deeply into Spain's political history, the pleasures of craft, and the motives and methods of storytelling itself (Harper's)

Unforgettable... a must-read for all who think of Spain as magical, who consider cheese as the ultimate gift of love, who love stories of betrayal, despair, revenge and redemption (The Wall Street Journal)

Gripping (Sunday Telegraph)

The Telling Room is one of those books where time often seems suspended, facts and fables merge and diverge, and memory melts either into a golden longing or the blessed fog of denial. Paterniti's engaging writing style and his deft ability to glide from the epic to the intimate in just a few sentences belies the obvious pain he suffered during the decadelong gestation of this work... Like the stories told in Ambrosio's bodega, The Telling Room is a book with multiple themes and digressions, each woven expertly into the others' (Chicago Tribune)

If you love food and love reading about food, you can't do better than this beautiful, passionate book. I finished it and wanted to fly immediately to Spain and eat everything in sight (Marcus Samuelsson author of Yes, Chef)

It's not often that a writer as restlessly imaginative as Michael Paterniti delves into the world of food. But with The Telling Room, Paterniti has crafted a book that's as delicious as it is gripping. We food lovers are lucky to count him as one of our own (Adam Rapoport editor in chief, Bon Appétit)

In the end, The Telling Room delivers a wealth of insights about Spain, food, friendship and the art of writing. The path might not be what you expected, but that makes the memories even richer, just like the surprises in a great meal (Washington Post)

Very few if any, other books about food are this emotive, evocative and gripping (Google Times)

What is most compelling and engaging about this idiosyncratic travelogue isn't only the story of the cheese but the story of storytelling itself, the dynamic between the author and his interviewee, Ambrosio, an elderly man finally telling his tale to a stranger. Like food, stories nurture us, they fuel us with energy. This is a story not only of physical but emotional and spiritual hunger, the yearning to make something from love to be shared - whether food or words - and passed on to future generations. It's a tale about preserving the 'flavours of the past' and our cultural heritage while also exploring ethical food consumption, with home-made triumphing over factory food. It's a book that is, like the cheese Paterniti searches for, 'made with love' - and one that readers will in turn love (Metro)

Paterniti weaves a wonderful, enthusiastic and idiosyncratic tale here, for sure (Big Issue)

A thoroughly enticing read (Bath Life)

As this witty narrative proves, there's far more to a slice of cheese than first meets the tastebuds (Easyjet Traveller)

Not just a book about Spain and its food, but an investigation into the art of narrative itself (Condé Nast Traveller)

Acutely observant, witty, warm-hearted, and humane, it will reawaken your desire to travel, cook and enjoy life at a more leisurely pace (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

'Rich, funny, humane, devastating and beautiful. It made me want to applaud, it made me want to cry, it made me want to move to Spain' ELIZABETH GILBERT

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Lucy Stylianou on 13 Feb 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're expecting a book about cheese, think again, for the cheese is coincidental to the truth of this extraordinary book which is really about family, friendship, landscape and memory. It took Michael Paterniti a long time to write this book and it's easy to see why. Seduced and transfixed by Ambrosio, his family, friends and neighbours, but also by the very land they live on has meant it took both time and distance to make sense of it all. But it was worth the wait. This is a fine book by a very fine storyteller, which, if Mr Paterniti ever reads this is the compliment I hope he will appreciate.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Siciliano on 26 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback
A year in Province and then some more... a lot more.

In the hands of a capable novelist, this story of a man's attempt to honor his father through the production of a local cheese and the friend that may or may not have betrayed him, might have been a better work than “The Telling Room.”

Michael Paterniti, a travel writer and freelance journalist, saw what he thought was a story, a cautionary tale, an echo of man's inhumanity to man, and took off in search of the truth. The problem with his venture seems to be that there was no truth, only ambiguity and a messy affair that didn't fit a journalistic template.

The author is frank about how often the book went cold on him, how many times he had to throw away a stack of papers and start all over again.

“The Telling Room,” is about many things, most of them having to do with Spain. At times it is quite interesting, and the opening salvos are certainly intriguing, but the author clearly got lost and ended up barely pulling out something serviceable that his publisher could accept for the advance paid.

“The Telling Room,” never truly coheres and never really gets anywhere but where we all get; a little older, a little fuzzier, and a little sadder. The writer spread himself thin trying to catch the essence of Castile and the wider expanse of Spain, but he could not weave this dream right.

“The Telling Room” is pocked throughout with footnotes parked in big spaces that often dwarf the writer's main text and take one off-track when they should have been worked into the story and enriched it, rather than served as distracting adjuncts.

Like countless writers before him, Paterniti is bewitched by Iberia and its people.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Gamble on 23 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Strange subject for a book, but absolutely loved it! The characters are so likeable and the twists and turns keep you reading.
even "Googled" the cheese to see if it still existed!!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Gough on 26 Oct 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Is all so true to the experience of Castille Y Leon, the high meseta and the villages and people. AND very well written.
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