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The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Indigenous Americas) Paperback – June 13, 2008
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Trust a novelist and English professor to get to the heart of how stories and storytelling shape our perceptions. Oral stories, King asserts, are public, requiring interaction with an audience. Gathering oral stories into book form compromises the narratives; once set on the page, a story loses its context and voice. And written stories are usually private; no matter how many people read a particular book, each person reads that story as an individual. While King primarily considers narratives by and about Indians, his unusual treatise also includes coverage of a lengthy stay in New Zealand, identity politics, Native American history, and the experience of being the only middle-aged member of an amateur basketball team. Ultimately, King exhorts listeners to accept the responsibility of stories, writing, "Take it. It's yours. Do with it what you will. But don't say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You've heard it now." This is a wonderful study of the power of words. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
By Thomas King. U of Minn. Press
The Truth about Stories by Thomas King is the prestigious Massey Lectures on culture produced on Canada Broadcasting Corporation Radio. King is the writer of many of my favorite works including the very funny Medicine River that was made into a TV movie with Graham Greene.
This book is another honor added to this Cherokee writer's portfolio. I found the book beautifully written and enjoyable as a interweaving of stories both from traditional sources and his personal life.
King has a deft way of making fun of himself that resembles the lead character in Medicine River. At the same time he is as obvious in his manipulation of the reader as that character was in creating the situation that trapped the Graham Greene character into coming home.
The book is laid out in five sections that begins with the story of "The Girl who fell to earth." King then proceeds through the comparison between native literature that stresses the interconnectedness of life and the authoritarian structure as experienced in the "Alpha Male" version of the Biblical Creation. What he doesn't mention is that this also has its parallel in native life in the Alpha character of Wolf society. But that is quibbling.
King takes the listener reader through his life as a non-reservation Indian and as an activist author. He records funny encounters with reporters and journalists who struggle to understand how he could be "Indian." Or even what being Indian entails.
He speaks to the problem of suicide amongst a people who are not afraid of death but can't find a reason for living and ends the book with the problem of his failure with a friend and the issue of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.Read more ›
Each chapter begins and ends the same, with a short ancedote, something King can call his own. What falls inbetween ranges from personal to historical stories, all with pertinence and value.
King portrays the significance of stories and how they can be overlooked and ignored. Stories are one of the foundations of how we live our lives. Each story has the opportunity to shape and/or change ones life. Enjoy King's story and share your own with others.
King starts by contrasting two mythologies - one probably wholly unknown to you and one familiar. The first is the story of the Woman Who Fell From the Sky. Tumbling from the depths of space, "Charm" [for such is her name] arrives on a world completely covered in water. After several attempts, Charm convinces Otter to bring mud from the sea bottom so that there may be land for creatures to walk on. Not all wanted to be on the new land, so the animals divided the world into water creatures and land creatures with the birds able to cope with both. Thus the world was founded on a spirit of cooperation.
The other myth is called "Genesis", the Judeo-Christian version of similar events, but with a very different frame of reference. The humans are restricted by One Rule - break it and you will die. The Rule is broken, of course, and King is at pains to avoid pointing the finger of guilt. The point of this comparison is that the Judeo-Christian myth contains the absolute condition of the One Rule, and the vengeful deity that imposed it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was in great shape when it arrived at my house. My son used it for his college class. He enjoyed reading it!Published 6 months ago by Judy
Thank You The copy of my book arrived early and I was glad to get it.Published 7 months ago by Seraphina
Everybody gets a book for their birthday this year. My three sons will get this book. I've read it 3 times. Enough saidPublished 8 months ago by Phishisix
This book was amazing!! I love the author's style and found the book to be very eye opening. I have recommended this book to multiple friends.Published 9 months ago by Alyssa R.
Feels like he's speaking to the reader. King is a great writer, and his stories are entirely relatable, even as they make me look at the world in a new way.Published 12 months ago by J. Lone
This was delightful, engaging, deep, funny, painful, perceptive, really good writing. It's memoir, it's essay, it's story, all mixed together, in King's very distinctive voice.Published 13 months ago by Paul T. Corrigan