Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction, 2014
In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as "the telling room". Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets - usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine.
It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. An unusual piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio’s cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. Eating it, some claimed, conjured long-lost memories. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong.... By the time the two men exited the telling room that evening, Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled in village life, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this cheese and explore the fairy tale-like place where the villagers conversed with farm animals, lived by an ancient Castilian code of honor, and made their wine and food by hand, from the grapes growing on a nearby hill and the flocks of sheep floating over the Meseta.
What Paterniti ultimately discovers there in the highlands of Castile is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing.
Equal parts mystery and memoir, travelogue and history, The Telling Room is an astonishing work of literary nonfiction by one of our most accomplished storytellers.
A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.
©2013 Michael Paterniti (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I read the first half of this book and then switched over to the audio book so I could finish in time for my book club. This is not the right kind of book for an audio book because there are too many footnotes. When reading it to myself I could make sense on the rants and tangents the author goes on, but in audio form it felt all over the place and ruined the flow of the story.
I thought this book would never end! The author was very unfocused and rambled on and on. His digressions were endless. For example, while telling of the cheesemaker and how he ended up driving a truck, he somehow got onto the history of Pringles potato chips, which was more then I ever wanted to know, on to some German man, etc. Wait, wasn't this a book about a cheese? He constantly deviated into his tales of woe writing the book and communications from his agent and publisher and excuses as to why he hadn't been able to finish the book. To make it even worse, he was totally unable to maintain a professional distance from his subject. OK, the book did contain some interesting historical information, but it was lost in all the digressions.
Too slow and after eight hours and I wanted to die. I'm sorry I just could not finish this book.
I don't think it was a narrator I think it was the story
I really wanted to love this book. Loyalty, family, history, cheese. Fantastic, right?
Unfortunately, the author gets hopelessly bogged down in his story, and this book (which is WAAAY too long), turns into a book about an author getting bogged down by a book he can't finish writing.
When "the end" finally came, I really had no idea why, and found myself saying, "Really?"
I've said the book is too long, and I mean that. Much of the repeated descriptions of the towns and the land and the (extensive) history of Spain seemed like filler, or maybe something to keep the author's mind working while he tried to figure out what his content should be.
I don't NOT recommend this book, but I don't really recommend it either. The story of the cheese is pretty compelling. I'm just not sure it's worth listening this many hours to get it.
A word on the performance: L.J. Ganser read with enthusiasm, but his over-enunciation of every single word (not just the Spanish) was grating and incredibly distracting.
No, found the style of writing very tiresome.
Not at all.
possible, if the story is better written
One of the most boring books I have ever purchased at aubible.
The book is interesting, and its most endearing feature is the fun and entertaining anecdotes. But the entire theme of the second half is him wrestling with the fact that he didn't know how to end it. The ending is weak, even with him transparently discussing it and sharing with the reader his angst.All in all, I would recommend it as an easy read, but don't get your hopes up for a strong finish.
I think so, depends on the subject.
The performance was great, very easy and entertaining to listen to.
I only made it halfway. The story is moderately engrossing. The author's descriptions and characters paint a vivid picture, and I find myself wanting to know what happens next, but i can't bring myself to listen any more. The narrator's overconfident, Italianate, mispronunciation of every Spanish word in the book, and there are a lot of them, is completely ruining it for me. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. I want my credit back!
No. There is no story
It just went on and on. Couldn't wait for it to be over
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