From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Thirty-three sublime, deceptively simple reflections on states of human awareness comprise this prose collection by poet Teicher (Brenda Is in the Room
), who is also PW
's poetry editor. In bedtime-story selections grouped under themes of Silence, Fear, Sleep, Teicher gives voice to our suppressed terrors of the dark, animism, unclean urges, and supernatural convergences: a man is granted the wish of invisibility in The Reward, using the power to observe everything he can until he becomes a repository... of moments that threaten to repeat themselves for all eternity, in short, a poet; dust collecting in clumps in corners takes on life as it is simply waiting for us to join it (The Dust); a tree stump finds a remedy for its acute loneliness by engulfing a monk in its gnarled roots so that they can die together (The Monk and the Stump). The immutable condition of the stone becomes the metaphor for life in The Story of the Stone. Teicher's subtly composed fables are effortless and enduring, celebrate the virtue of story above all, and render philosophers of his readers. (June)
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"Cradle Book is incredibly rich and incredibly slim, incongruously small considering all it contains. To quote Teicher's story, 'The Red Cipher,' it is '[l]ike those unusual houses that are much bigger on the inside than their exteriors suggest,' as if each tale opens up a kind of hall of mirrors, something flickering into the distance in such a way as to suggest a path
This is a book to read aloud, to spend time under the spell of. Like the older fables Teicher must have had in his mind and ears when these were written, the stories in Cradle Book slip easily into the region of a reader's imagination where a good story is capable of waylaying danger, and where impenetrable mystery is realer and more relevant than what we see, by day, through our actual eyes."
The Best American Poetry
"Instead of the artificial clarity of the carefully orchestrated life evident in so much narrative realism, these pieces seek to explore what we don't understand, to open up questions that lead to more questions. ... Fables in the truest sense, these exquisite stories offer a sense of wonder even as they lead us deeper and deeper into the darkness of the unconscious."
"Though he is drawing from a fabular tradition that itself draws upon the rich heritage of folklore, Teicher breaks from both forms by placing his speaker in a position where the stories he tells both distort and bring him into sharper focus.... The book is at once a collection of fables, of philosophy, of prose and prose poems, of aphorisms, creation myths, mystery, and parable."