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The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative Hardcover – Mar 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816646260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816646265
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #730,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Booklist

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

Review

...contemporary, necessary, urgent. And very, very funny. His is humour at its best, deadly serious, the ultimate defence against overwhelming odds. -- The Edmonton Journal

If you like Thomas King already, and you should, this is essential reading -- Anna Bowness, Broken Pencil

King is a master storyteller and master writer...I can only say your life will be different if you read these [stories]. -- Ellen Bielawski, The Edmonton Journal

King's ...Massey Lectures illustrate how native culture's deep ties to storytelling have much to teach others about human understanding -- Winnipeg Free Press

[King's speculations and observations] appear in a witty, engaging, thought-provoking, and discomfiting form. Required reading for all. -- Bill Robertson, Saskatoon Star Phoenix --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 25 2008
Format: Paperback
The simple truth about stories is that they impart who we are. Whether telling tales or reading/listening to what others have to say. King suggests that not only do stories explain us to ourselves and others, there are often deeper implications - sometimes dangerous ones. In this series of essays derived from the CBC's Massey Lecture series, this talented novelist and social commentator brings a fresh view to telling stories - a Native American outlook. This compelling overview is long overdue, and King manages to cover a great deal of territory in six essays. The questions he raises are a combination of long-standing viewpoints along with modern shifts of emphasis.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jared M Gonet on Feb. 6 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a book that is exactly what it promises to be, a native narrative. As Thomas King states after his opening story: "The truth about stories is that that's all we are."
Well this is one man's story, and the stories he's heard. It's an imparting of how Thomas King has seen his corner of the Native World. It's a small part of a larger narrative from a man who's spent a life-time thinking about what exactly it means to be Native in the world today.
So, you'll take this story and garner what wisdom you can from it, and perhaps come back to it some day to see if something else can't be seen. It's a story given (relatively) freely.
I can only hope you enjoy and appreciate it as much as I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, beautiful, shocking, humorous, smart, tough, gentle. Anyone interested in Native North Americans would find much to learn here. With an unusual lyrical style, Thomas King makes us think. He shows us the stereotypes. He will leave a big hole when he retires from teaching Native Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. I have read this book three times and each time come away refreshed and awakened.
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