How can you not fall in love with this title? It draws you to the book and you just have to pick it up and see what it is all about. At least it did for me! Then I learned that it was set in Spain and I was sold. This is a non fiction book. I suppose it would be considered a biography because it follows Ambrosio de Molinos for the most part. It is is also obviously about food and culture as well. The story draws you in and the characters are fabulous and real! The writing itself is a bit dense, so it is not a quick and easy read. However, it is a good read. Just be prepared to read it slowly.
My Goodreads Review:
The descriptions of Spain, the food, and the land are rather magical. The people in the story are powerful and memorable. The story is as much about the man who perfected the cheese as it is about the author.
There were several words that were new to me and I had to look them up. I haven't had to do that very often and it was kinda cool to be experiencing new words. But that's beside the point.
We all have stories that are so close to us that we hesitate to share them with people. This is a story like that for the author, but he shares it anyway and I'm glad he did.
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.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where they have the information about the book. I was not asked by Amazon, NetGalley, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.