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The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese | [Michael Paterniti]

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, July 2013 - I consider myself a foodie, but never have I found myself so emotionally invested in any food, let alone a piece of cheese. Michael Paterniti’s sophisticated prose awakened my taste buds and transported me to a remote, other-worldly village in Spain where I came to crave Páramo de Guzmán, arguably the world’s greatest (and most expensive) piece of cheese. The Telling Room, however, ignited within me much more than a simple food craving. Paterniti’s expertly woven narrative, with detailed descriptions of both people and land, invoked within me nostalgia for a simpler time. At the center of Paterniti’s memoir is Ambrosio,the passionate Spanish cheesemaker, betrayed by his best friend, living with revenge in his heart in a land where grudges last a lifetime. As Paterniti gets implicated in Ambrosio’s tale, so does the listener, and the journey is every bit as satisfying as an excellent piece of cheese. I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy of this book, and it’s such a delight to now listen to it in audio with L.J. Ganser as narrator. —Katie, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (106 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (34)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.4 (93 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.7 (90 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Heidi New York, NY, United States 09-27-13
    Heidi New York, NY, United States 09-27-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So Boring"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. There is no story


    Has The Telling Room turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    no


    Could you see The Telling Room being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    It just went on and on. Couldn't wait for it to be over

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TX lilbit Austin, TX 08-12-13
    TX lilbit Austin, TX 08-12-13 Member Since 2009

    AusTX Lilbit

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "too bad another author didn't scoop this story"
    What would have made The Telling Room better?

    narrator dreadful - like the worst kind of sportscaster. Very clear he read this book through for the first time when it was recorded.


    What could Michael Paterniti have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    overheated incoherent writing packed with cliches - author completely self-involved. Less blabbing about awful author and his boring personal journey as a writer, and more about cheesemaker.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    weird parsing choices, blaring and boring delivery, wanted to slap him.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Telling Room?

    I would have given the story idea to a different author.


    Any additional comments?

    I love foodie stories. I hated this author and this book. My personal nightmare would be sitting next to this self-obsessed hack of a writer at a dinner party.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    poetjk Denver, Colorado 08-06-13
    poetjk Denver, Colorado 08-06-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tried too hard"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A story without the overuse of cliche and giant words that were more about the author's ego than the story. I didn't finish it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He sounded like a 1950s used car salesman trying too hard.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Telling Room?

    Not scenes, the story seemed intriguing, I just could handle the overwriting and over-narrating.


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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