ZEBRA STORYTELLER

ZEBRA STORYTELLER

by Spencer Holt, Beate Wheeler
     
 

Fiction. "Holst has long been treasured in the underground New York literary scene. His impish delivery is filled with a childlike delight in tale-spinning, and yet his work is recognized for its inscrutable mysteries. Containing every story Holst has ever written, nearly a third of them never before published, this collection should establish Holst's reputation

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Overview

Fiction. "Holst has long been treasured in the underground New York literary scene. His impish delivery is filled with a childlike delight in tale-spinning, and yet his work is recognized for its inscrutable mysteries. Containing every story Holst has ever written, nearly a third of them never before published, this collection should establish Holst's reputation among a wider public. If there is a single aesthetic preoccupation in these tales, it is with storytelling itself. In the title piece, a Siamese cat speaks 'Zebraic,' bewitching zebras so that he is able to kill them, until he meets the zebra storyteller who has already imagined a Siamese cat speaking Zebraic. This allows him to kill the cat, and 'that is the function of the storyteller,' Holst concludes. Such postmodern concerns, however, do not become boorish. Above all, Holst seeks to entertain, not lecture; imagination and language receive no especial privilege here, but humor always does. In 'The Language of Cats,' at the end of one rather long and unsuccessful attempt to describe a confused state of mind, the narrator resorts to: 'imagine how the world would appear to a person after finishing such a ridiculously lengthy, pointless sentence.' Such authorial winks give a hint of what it is like to be in the presence of this master of the told tale"—Publisher's Weekly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Holst has long been treasured in the underground New York literary scene. His impish delivery is filled with a childlike delight in tale-spinning, and yet his work is recognized for its inscrutable mysteries. Containing every story Holst has ever written, nearly a third of them never before published, this collection should establish Holst's reputation among a wider public. If there is a single aesthetic preoccupation in these tales, it is with storytelling itself. In the title piece, a Siamese cat speaks ``Zebraic,'' bewitching zebras so that he is able to kill them, until he meets the zebra storyteller who has already imagined a Siamese cat speaking Zebraic. This allows him to kill the cat, and ``that is the function of the storyteller,'' Holst concludes. Such postmodern concerns, however, do not become boorish. Above all, Holst seeks to entertain, not lecture; imagination and language receive no especial privilege here, but humor always does. In ``The Language of Cats,'' at the end of one rather long and unsuccessful attempt to describe a confused state of mind, the narrator resorts to: ``imagine how the world would appear to a person after finishing such a ridiculously lengthy, pointless sentence.'' Such authorial winks give a hint of what it is like to be in the presence of this master of the told tale. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780882681245
Publisher:
Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.
Publication date:
01/01/2010
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.97(d)

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Meet the Author

Spencer Holst (1926-2001) was an American writer and storyteller. Though he published several collections of stories, as well as volumes of translations, Holst was known primarily for the captivating live performances of his work that he regularly conducted, particularly in the New York City area, in a distinctive mellifluous, rhythmically cadenced voice. In his heyday he was often heard on the radio on New York's listener-sponsored radio station, WBAI. For many years until his death, he lived at Westbeth Artists Housing in NYC. In addition to presenting readings there, he exhibited his watercolour paintings, many based on invented calligraphic motifs. The paintings were often shown with lengthy titles attached, some were small stories in themselves. Holst is a recipient of the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and from the Foundation for Performing Arts.

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