From Publishers Weekly
Joel ben Izzy has a peaceful, almost mesmerizing voice-a fine storyteller's voice-altered only when he becomes the characters in his tales. He does a perfect Yiddish accent, but he doesn't spoil other stories by struggling for genuine accents. Parables have morals: as he narrates the agonizing loss of his voice and ultimate recovery, he seeks lessons from his misery. One of his Chinese tales reminds us: What seems like a blessing may be a curse, and what seems like a curse may be a blessing. Izzy begins each chapter with a fairy tale from some corner of the globe, then relates it to a segment of his life. The book is a blend of fiction and nonfiction genres much in fashion now: memoir, the journey toward healing, the spiritual awakening, the search for wisdom and meaning through pain and loss. Izzy's book will find a happy home next to those of Paulo Coelho, Mitch Albom, Sue Monk Kidd, Alice Seabold et al., and will be particularly popular in audio format. An Algonquin paperback (Reviews, July 28, 2003). (July)
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In his debut effort, professional storyteller Ben Izzy shares personal experiences that have caused him to search for life's true meaning in the stories he has spent two decades telling. The book starts with the fable of the beggar king, in which King Solomon loses his kingdom and is left to wander the land as a beggar, and from there Ben Izzy's own tale unfolds. A renowned storyteller, the author was at the top of his game when throat cancer robbed him of his voice. As a consequence, he lost his livelihood and became severely depressed until he met up with his old mentor Lenny, a cantankerous and often drunk old storyteller who helped him to stop dwelling on his misery and to see his fate in terms of life's bigger picture. The book ends with the conclusion of the story of the beggar king, in which King Solomon's journey is realized as an illusion, and with Ben Izzy making sense of the cards fate has dealt him. Kathleen HughesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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