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The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese Hardcover – July 30, 2013
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Paterniti takes a more or less simple story of a farmer in Spain who creates a fantastic cheese and then, through mismanagement, loses the company he has built, and turns it into a reflection on how life is to be lived, how it feels to be a young father, what is worth living for, how time changes, and yet doesn't change, everything. He has a huge man-crush on this guy whose language he doesn't even speak at first, and he manages to spend so much time with him that he falls completely under his spell, bringing his wife and kids not once but twice, to spend weeks in a dessicated village in Spain.
Life in the village of Guzman is everything that life in modern America is not. People spend their time in rooms that Paterniti calls Telling Rooms, caves, actually out on the hillside, where wine flows freely (wine they themselves have made) and food is shared lovingly with friend and stranger alike. No "stranger danger" here, no hours spent before screens "chatting" electronically with disembodied strangers. This is life as it has been for centuries. And yet, it is also real, not a stage-setting put on for the benefit of lost americanos who always go home to their clothes driers and air conditioners and ipads.Read more ›
There are two things I don't like about this book. The first is, the author uses way too many adjectives and similes, etc., for my taste. The unusual part though, is that sometimes he uses them, and other times he doesn't have any at all. (Once he gets into the actual story, there aren't nearly as many.)
The second is, he has far too much information that doesn't apply to the story. He includes things about his personal life and family, and lots of other side items that aren't pertinent to the story. I WILL say though that many of the things he does puts in footnotes, so it's easy to skip over them. Some of them are actually good stories and worth the read. But I really think this book could have been shorter and more on point, and I would have enjoyed it more (I would have given it a 5 then.)
Now for the story. The story was WONDERFUL. It pulled me right in (when he got to it) and kept me going. Ambrosio was larger than life, and the small Castilian town he lived in sounded like a really nice, old-world place. The story of the cheese was just spectacular. The author was really drawn into this, and I can understand why.
Ambrosio was definitely bigger than life (I picture him as looking just like Eli Wallach) and he didn't do anything by halves. I want to say more about him, but I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't read it yet.
This book is definitely worth a read, and seems very heartfelt by both the author and the participants in the story.
[For those who have already read the book---I LOVED the author's story of his special trip to Mon Virgo.Read more ›
The overwrought prose kept getting in the way of the story. A few times, the author even mocked himself about this -- "...put the finishing touches on another one of my overheated homing pigeons of prose..." Page after page went by and still, there was no story. I skipped ahead. Now it was about the author's contract with his publisher and his failure to meet deadlines. Year after year passed. I skipped ahead. He finally made it to the tiny village in Spain, home of the possibly mythical magical cheese. No detail was too small to include in this slowly evolving story. Often, Paterniti recognized that the details were slowing the story to a crawl, and relegated them to footnotes. There are many footnotes.
A book ten years in the making, The Telling Room is a letdown, and I could not find the patience to keep at it. It was so many things that in the end, it was none of them. Instead of chipping away at the block of marble cheese to find the perfect form hiding inside, Paterniti slapped more and more plaster, paint, and spare parts onto it until it became a hideous hybrid. Now how's THAT for overheated prose?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did not care for the story. Author jumped around a lot. I ended up skipping so many pages. The footnotes at the end of every chapter were annoying.Published 22 days ago by wysguy
The story itself, of a miracle Spanish cheese developed by the larger than life Ambrosio which is then subsequently stolen by his best friend Julian, is compelling in itself. Read morePublished 27 days ago by GalwayMike
I received this book as a gift over a year ago, and just picked it up two weeks ago, trying to get through my bookshelf backlog. Read morePublished 2 months ago by hkp
The footnotes drove me nuts, especially as I listened to the majority of this book via Text-To-Speech. Read morePublished 2 months ago by QA
The footnotes drove me nuts but I enjoyed the book despite them!Published 3 months ago by Jill E Mant
Great story well told. Would love to spend some time in that country side and unplug from life. Hope the friends work it out. Friendship is more precious than anything.Published 3 months ago by Simon Fraser
Don't even know why I liked it. It is the ramblings of a journalist who imbeds himself and at times his family into the story. It is a running internal dialog of that journalist. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Deb
A great read, had me laughing out loud in places but also quite genuinely moving. Paterniti does a great job weaving together the convoluted and ultimately quite tragic story of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. T. Cox
instantly grabbed my heart...not often a book speaks so clearly into my own journey...great read...strong characters and powerful thought provoking insights into our daily... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ann Cook