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The Moth Paperback – 3 Sep 2013
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"Passionate . . . brilliant, and quietly addictive."--The London Guardian
"[In this book] the stories not only maintain their oral integrity but also take on new dimensions, allowing you to ponder a turn of events or to swirl the language around in your head without missing the next part of the story."--David Vecsey, NYTimes.com "The 6th Floor" blog
"Burns, artistic director of the award-winning The Moth Radio Hour, frees stories whetted for a live audience onto the page, proving the richness of great storytelling: that one can gain as much as a member of an audience communally cringing, laughing and weeping, as a reader privately surrendering to the complicity of human experience."--Publishers Weekly
"When I started to read the new collection 'The Moth: 50 True Stories, ' [the storytellers'] distinctive voices turned on my audio button. It felt as if they had channeled these stories to me."--Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune "Editor's Choice"
Pull up an easy chair and settle into the most spell-binding collection of real stories you will ever read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
In Neil Gaiman's introduction, he explains one of the basic tenets of the Moth: "Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at the moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything."
Each storyteller chooses a moment in their own lives as basis for the content of their stories and they tell it as it is; except that they don't. These are stories, not fact. And being honest and "leaving out things you don't need" is not the same as not embellishing them with your own perspective, distorting accounts to highlight or tune out aspects of the situation accordingly. And that's what makes this collection enjoyable. You develop a relationship with each storyteller in those few moments that you listen to (or in this case, read) his or her tale, empathising, being wowed by, and at the same time learning more about the teller, because his or her personality inevitably slips through. Whether it is the high class socialite who tells about her trysts with the Brunei prince and his brother in his harem unabashedly, the junkie who falls in love with a fellow rehab patient who was suffering from AIDS and finds a moment of grace that he is forever unable to repeat, or the death row inmate who was wrongfully accused and spent eighteen years in prison, they all have a confession or some learning to share.
Some stories work well, and some not as well, but what is captivating about them all is the way they appropriate the feeling of a campfire sharing session, and whether you are totally engrossed by the story or distracted by your burning marshmallow, you feel the warmth of the fire and the intimacy of the baring of souls.
The moth is a story-telling event that travels to cities throughout the US (and internationally also this year it would seem). Anyone can submit a story and, if successful, they'll be asked to come to one of the events to read it, and the Moth directors will help them to tell the story better. It doesn't sound like anything particularly special, but it is. The stories are all true, and it's the way in which they're told and the connection with the audience that makes these events work. At the time of the book's printing, there have been over 10,000 stories told, and this is a collection of just 50 of them.
There are some stories that interested me more than others, but that's to be expected. This is a solid collection of stories and I wouldn't say there are any bad at all. The stories range from light-hearted and funny to downright heartbreaking. Some are for entertainment only, while some seem to offer lessons and some are truly inspirational. There's a great mix of story-tellers too, from 'everyday' non-famous people to celebrities, and everything in between.
While writing this review I skimmed through the book again as I wanted to list my favourites, and what I actually ended up doing was spending a good hour reading some stories again. What this little exercise showed me was actually how stellar this collection is. There are far too many great stories in this book for me to list every one that I loved, but a few of my favourites were 'A Kind of Wisdom' by Ellie Lee, 'A Perfect Circle by Carly Johnstone, 'My First Day with the Yankees' by Matthew McGough and 'Whatever Doesn't Kill Me' by Ed Gavagan.
I think it's a fair assumption to make that anyone who loves to read enjoys a good story. I therefore would recommend this collection to everyone. Even if you're not a fan of the short story form when it comes to fiction, I'd still say give this a chance, you might be surprised as it really does work for true stories.
The stories are chosen to illustrate lessons learned or perspectives changed from various people who have achieved varying degrees and types of success, some famous and some not. There’s such a variety here that most readers will find some that speak to them more than others. But all are easily-digestible and have something to say. They’re very well-told.
Though the storytellers are mostly American, their stories often have resonances much wider than their land of origin and offer very human and often fascinating insights into other people’s lives some of which are quite extraordinary.
I found this book difficult to put down, as I was curious about what the next story would bring. But reading too many in one sitting isn’t advisable. Each has a flavour of its own and I found it better to just read a few at a time and allow them to sink in and digest.
One of the most unusual and memorable books I’ve read for some time.