The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese

by Michael Paterniti
3.9 21

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Overview

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAME ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • Entertainment Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • The Christian Science Monitor

In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room.” Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets—usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine.
 
It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. An unusual piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio’s cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. Eating it, some claimed, conjured long-lost memories. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong. . . .
 
By the time the two men exited the telling room that evening, Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled in village life, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this cheese and explore the fairy tale–like place where the villagers conversed with farm animals, lived by an ancient Castilian code of honor, and made their wine and food by hand, from the grapes growing on a nearby hill and the flocks of sheep floating over the Meseta.
 
What Paterniti ultimately discovers there in the highlands of Castile is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing.
 
Equal parts mystery and memoir, travelogue and history, The Telling Room is an astonishing work of literary nonfiction by one of our most accomplished storytellers. A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.

Praise for The Telling Room
 
“Captivating . . . Paterniti’s writing sings, whether he’s talking about how food activates memory, or the joys of watching his children grow.”—NPR
 
“A gorgeous and impassioned monument to the art and mystery of storytelling, The Telling Room is rich, funny, humane, devastating, and beautiful. It made me want to applaud, it made me want to cry, it made me want to move to Spain. Michael Paterniti is a genius.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“Unforgettable . . . a must-read for all who think of Spain as magical, who consider cheese as the ultimate gift of love, who love stories of betrayal, despair, revenge and redemption.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
The Telling Room embodies the spirit of slow food and life.”—Michael Pollan
 
“Elegant, strange, funny, and insightful, The Telling Room is a marvelous tale and a joyful read, a trip into a world peopled by some of the most remarkable characters—and, yes, cheese—in memory.”—Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief



From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812994544
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/30/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 122,889
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Michael Paterniti is the New York Times bestselling author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain. His writing has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Harper’s, Outside, Esquire, and GQ, where he works as a correspondent. Paterniti has been nominated eight times for the National Magazine Award, and is the recipient of a NEA grant and two MacDowell Fellowships. He is the co-founder of a children’s storytelling center in Portland, Maine, where he lives with his wife and their three children.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
EG678 More than 1 year ago
This is a remarkable book that goes deep into the secrets of a small Spanish village. It swings from memoir to travelog to history. It details love, friendship, betrayal. It is a darn good book!
IzzyBIB More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book about a small village and the truths, lies, and myths that unfold in the Telling Room.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the premise of this story; it's got geat bones. But I am really struggling to read the whole thing because of the incessant superfluous footnotes. It's like the author had a bad break up with his editor and chose everything s/he edited out over their partnership and shoved it back in the story as footnotes. It's a rare four uninterrupted paragraphs you can get through before being directed to some tangent that pulls you out of the story at hand for, every time, no worthwhile reason. None of this "bonus" info is making me feel the story any more fulky, nor do they help build the characters. Which feel underdeveloped: the main character is a sanctimonious blowhard I'm having a hard time feeling sympathetic for and the narrator is about as interesting as untoasted wonderbread. Story feels like it could really go somewhere but the language is just not taking me there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a very interesting book. The author brings to life far more than the story of a fine cheese. He goes in depth about a special "Telling Room" in a small village in Spain where villagers go to confess and share stories. From this Telling Room research the author manufactures a vivid look into the village.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book, this story was enthralling. I was just as caught up in the story telling of Ambosio and was a little disappointed (and intrigued) that there were other sides of the story. The author painted a vivid picture of this little Spanish town and its environs, I felt like I was there - I could smell the sheep, see the surnsets, hear the wine being poured into the porron and yes! even taste the cheese. The story didn't progress as I expected, but it was very much like life itself.
KAKCLIL More than 1 year ago
I struggled with this novel, trying to like it. It had a great premise/story line. However, the foot notes were annoying and did not add to the context of the book. The entire book could have and should have been written as a short story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of Ambrosio, Guzman and the cheese is quite fun. But the author throws in so much other seemingly irrelevant information not to mention the footnotes (which i can understand a bit since it is meant to be a true story, plus you can totally skip them if you want) that it is hard to read and stay engaged in the story. This would have gotten 4.5 stars had it been about 150+ pages shorter.
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful. It does read like a novel, yet it's a memoir or a non-fiction history/story. I love Spain, and the history and peoples of Spain as it evolved and the places and foods and wines, etc., are wonderful. The story of the cheese, the wonderful/best in the world cheese, from a small town in Castile, is a great story. The writer becomes a character in the story as he meets the cheese maker and his family and townsmen and builds the narrative. I loved learning so much about Spain, cheese, and this wonderful group of miscreants who made it. The writer and his family are just great as they bring us this story by living it. There are many footnotes in the book and they are valuable. Be sure to read the footnotes as you go and you will learn much about the history of this great country and this special region and this town and the making of cheese. The footnotes are as much "literature" as the rest of this fascinating book. You may need to be a bit intellectual to love this book. So be it. 
huckfinn37 More than 1 year ago
The Telling Room is a very good read. I would recommend it for book clubs. It combines history, mystery, and food with great precision and gusto. The Telling Room is a non fiction book that reads like a novel. There are a bit too many footnotes; otherwise, this is a fanstatic find and a book that I will be telling people about for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a lot but I just could not get into this book. I was confused and really did not have the energy to go.on after a few chapters. I don't like to fight to understand a book and this felt like fighting.
casab More than 1 year ago
Michael Paterniti leaves no detail uncovered. While at times his footnotes within footnotes can be a bit daunting, his story is heartwarming, amusing, interesting and brings the reader into the experience of rural Spanish life. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy traveling outside the big cities and getting to know the region and its people.
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Lend_me_your_ear More than 1 year ago
I did not care for this book at all. Archaic word choice as well as writing style lead me to believe Paternini wrote this for an elite academic audience in mind with the sole purpose of showing off. It didn't engage me enough to finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love cheses
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super bad lag so super sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I mean res 4!