It's bad form for a reviewer to suggest that readers go out and buy
a book. The reviewer is charged with examining a book's content ---
its soul, if you will --- without consideration for the commercial
transaction that might actually put that book in someone's hands.
However, TELLING TALES, a remarkable collection of short stories,
demands a recommendation about purchase. After all, this is more
than a book; it's a fundraiser.
TELLING TALES collects 21 stories by writers from around the world,
including five Nobel Prize winners (Gunter Grass, Jose Saramago,
Kenzaburo Oe, Gordimer and Gabriel Garcia Marquez); two National
Book Award winners (John Updike and Susan Sontag); a pair of
Pulitzer Prize winners (Updike and Arthur Miller); and three
winners of the Booker Prize (Margaret Atwood, Gordimer, and Salman
Rushdie). Toss in Woody Allen, Paul Theroux and several more
extremely talented writers, and you have an amazing
Each story was chosen by the author, and each was provided sans fee
or expectation of royalty. All royalties and profits will be
donated for HIV/AIDS preventative education and medical treatment
for people in southern Africa, an area of the world devastated by
the disease. Gordimer, a native of South Africa, is to be commended
for bringing together such an esteemed body of authors.
The stories themselves run the gamut from comedy to tragedy and
many seem to sparkle on the page. Miller's "Bulldog" (which is
built around an incident that would be fraught with the perils of
AIDS if it were set in the present) is filled with striking
language; Marquez's "Death Constant Beyond Love" is a gem of magic
realism; and Allen delivers laughs in the satiric "The
TELLING TALES is both marvelously varied in terms of subject and
style, and remarkably consistent in terms of quality. This is a
great book for a great cause.
Reviewed by Rob Cline (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 23, 2011