ZEBRA STORYTELLER

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 ...

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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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882681245
  • Publisher: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 295
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.97 (d)

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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Table of Contents

The Zebra Storyteller
Mona Lisa Meets Buddha
The Getaway Car
The Largest Wave in the World
Balkan Entertainment: The Man Behind the Scene
Adventure of the Giant Rat of Sumatra
The Frog
Immortality
The Language of Cats
Pleasures of the Imagination: 64 Beginnings
The Lovers
Marriage of the Dingo
Another Impostor
Finders Keepers
The Three
Dream of the Bobbers
On Demons
Real Magic
The Santa Claus Murderer
The Blond Bat
A Blazing Blue Footprint
Doubletalk French
The Prime Minister's Grandfather
Fear of Firecrackers & 6 untitled paragraphs
A Rare Yellow Emerald
The White Mirror
Chess
The Monroe Street Monster
The Green Gardenia
The Purple Bird
Paint
The Cat Who Owned An Apartment
Wishing
A Chocolate Reptile & 3 untitled paragraphs
10,000 Reflections
The Weir of Hermiston
The Scotch Story
Miss Lady
A Following
Ghosts
The One Comic
The Hunger of the Magicians
Prose for Dancing
The Mirror Story
Fingernails
True Confessions Story
Frenzy of Barbarians & 7 untitled paragraphs
On My Great-Grandfather
On the Truth
The Magician's Daughter
The Giant Egyptian
Treasure of the Treehouse
Hans Christian Andersen
Bullfinch & Goblin
Tom-tom
The Music Copyist
Text
Typewriter Repairman
The Hidden Ballroom at Versaille
Brief piece...
Orange
On Hope
Brilliant Silence
Charlie Morrow's Bracelet
The Institute for the Foul Ball: An Unfinished Baseball Epic
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