This is a book about cheese; about a flamboyant Spanish farmer and cheesemaker named Ambrosio; about storytelling and community; about modern American culture and Old World values; a book about an author named Michael Paterniti. It is utterly compelling and beautifully written. It ripens and transforms in its telling in the same way that does a good cheese, or wine, or history. And in the weeks since I’ve finished it, its flavors have only grown richer. I highly recommend a tasting.— Sara, Atlanta
“While working in a deli owned by a larger-than-life foodie, a young Michael Paterniti encounters what was then considered the finest cheese in the world - Paramo de Guzman. Too poor at the time to buy a taste, Paterniti instead vows to one day meet this fascinating, magical cheese again. Years later, Paterniti, with family in tow, makes good on his vow by traveling to the rustic Spanish village where the cheese is produced. There we meet Ambrosio, the brilliant, salt-of-the-earth cheesemaker with infectious zest for life and a love for creating something simply and beautifully. Paterniti spends the next decade embedded in the rural village, playing Sancho Panza to the Don Quixote-esque Ambrosia while piecing together a meandering melange of stories about food, flavor, love, loss, betrayal, and revenge. Perhaps in the hands of another author, this book would have become tedious and tiresome, but Paterniti skillfully imparts upon the reader a contagious love for his subject(s). This apparently did not come without struggle, as a large portion of Paterniti's story is about being unable to write the book. Hailing from the world of journalism, the disillusioned Paterniti slowly realizes that he is no longer in a place where deadlines apply - in fact, in this strange little village, time seems to move backward. As a storyteller, Paterniti is forced to adapt - to find a way to tell a story that has seemingly no end. What begins as an investigative journalist's foodie memoir becomes a culture study, a travelogue, a comedy, and an allegory. The Telling Room is about people, farming, and creating something from the earth, and it is also about time and reality, tradition and history, philosophy and thought, writing and storytelling. I got lost in this book. It grabs hold, penetrates, transports, engrosses, and stays with you. Not for a long time has a story lingered like this- all I want to do is talk about it! This book is so big, multifaceted, and intricate that I still find it difficult to call it nonfiction. The Telling Room is a truly unique investment, but one with enormous returns.
- Nick Berg, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI”
— Nick Berg, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI