A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese
The Dial Press
On Sale: July 30, 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
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In the picturesque village of GuzmĂˇn, Spain, in a cave dug
into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads
to a cramped limestone chamber known as â€śthe telling room.â€ť
Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this
is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share
their stories and secretsâ€”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, Ambrosioâ€™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 GuzmĂˇn in order to chase the truth about this
cheese and explore the fairy taleâ€“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, heâ€™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
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.
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