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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Telling Room: Passion, Revenge and Life in a Spanish Village
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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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on 19 January 2015
This book brought back many memories of my first visit to a small part of rural Spain back in the late 60's. The evenings spent listening to the stories of the old men in the tiny bar .....I now live myself here and have often thought of writing my story ...but this book has made me realise that it is impossible to put it all into words. You have to ,I've it to understand the spanish people and their mindset. At times a little heavy going but well worth hanging on in there to learn a little bit more ...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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. He holds forth on what the ancient land and its wise, yet life-loving people, can teach us, but that did not prevent him from engaging the uniquely American predilection for prattling on endlessly about himself.

Whether it's the “Legend of El Cid,” the bullfight, the process of cheese making or Real Madrid soccer, the discussion always comes back to the author, his family, his thoughts and his personal progress. It shouldn't. It should be about Spain.

“The Telling Room,” represents a case of promise unrealized.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2014
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
on 26 October 2014
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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on 4 April 2015
Great
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on 21 September 2014
Super
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2014
THE STORY BEGINS WELL BUT STALLS AT TIMES AND THERE IS THE TEMPTATION TO GIVE UP OR SKIP PARAGRAPHS. I DID SOLDIER ON BUT WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT NOT EVERYONE MIGHT.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2014
This book promised much but didn't really deliver. At its heart there is an interesting story but, ultimately, it is a slight tale and does not warrant the length of book.
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