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Telling Tales

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  408 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Rarely have world writers of such variety and distinction appeared together in the same anthology. Their stories capture the range of emotions and situations of our human universe: tragedy, comedy, fantasy, satire, dramas of sexual love and of war in different continents and cultures. They are not about HIV / AIDS. But all twenty-one writers have given their stories--chose ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Liz Janet
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This collection is a great introduction to the amazing writers, if you ever want to have a taste of these incredible authors, this is a great collection to see if their writing style is your thing.
The best in my opinion are:

"Bulldog" by Arthur Miller, "The Firebird's Nest" by Salman Rushdie, "Death Constant Beyond Love" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "The Age of Lead" by Margaret Atwood, "Witness of an Era" by Gunter Grass (from his book "My Century"), "Sugar Baby by Chinua Achebe, and "The Ultimat
Alejandro Teruel
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: usb, ficción
A curious 2004 collection of short stories edited by Nadine Gordimer and contributed by twenty-one outstanding living writers (at the time of publishing) including five Nobel Prize winners (José Saramago, Gabriel García Márquez, Günter Grass, Kenzaburo Oe and Nadine Gordimer herself) for the benefit of the estimated 40 million people infected with HIV/AIDS.

None of the stories is directly about HIV/AIDS and it is interesting to speculate on what went through the minds of the writers when they wer
جلجامش Nabeel
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature

A great collection of short stories from around the world, it might be one of the best collections of such world renowned writers who have achieved prestigious prizes in literature, and they gather here to show our world’s cultural diversity and allocate the money of publishing this anthology to fund the researches and educational programs to combat AIDS/HIV.

“Bulldog” by Arthur Miller, it reminded me of my family when we bought Piny through an ad in the paper. My sister’s desperately missed our
Gilgamesh  Nabeel
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
A great collection of short stories from around the world, it might be one of the best collections of such world renowned writers who have achieved prestigious prizes in literature, and they gather here to show our world’s cultural diversity and allocate the money of publishing this anthology to fund the researches and educational programs to combat AIDS/HIV.

“Bulldog” by Arthur Miller, it reminded me of my family when we bought Piny through an ad in the paper. My sister’s desperately missed our
Sean Gainford
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Missed Opportunity

There are a few good short stories in this collection, however the majority are average or below average. It seems like most of these writers choose their stories on the basis of trying to show how clever they could be, or to impress academics or maybe just their writer friends. They were definitely not thinking of their audience: an average fiction reader who wants to learn about different cultures, worlds, and wants to have a bit of entertainment, along with wanting to help c
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Like all story collections, there are some really good, some really average and some really not enjoyable pieces included.

I did feel that death was a recurring theme, though obviously that wasn't true in all submissions. (Woody Allen's piece was very funny and had nothing to do with that, and little to do with the other pieces in general.)

Several of the pieces depicted man's inhumanity to man so made for intense reading.

That worked since the collected works were donated and the proceeds from the
May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
The awesome thing about this book, which is an anthology of contemporary short stories, is that none of the authors received any royalties for having their stories appear in the book, and none of the publishers made any profit from producing it -- all of the book proceeds went to AIDS research and treatment for African communities. None of the stories were about AIDS, but it was nice to participate in something like that.

The charitable assets aside, the anthology itself was incredibly diverse an
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-oz, anthology

Telling Tales is the literary equivalent of your favourite variety snack pack. Margaret Atwood, Chinua Achebe, Susan Sontag, Günter Grass, Arthur Miller and Christa Wolf (and so on!) all pop up with brilliant tales. Pretty sure at least five of the twenty-one authors are Nobel Prize Winners in Literature, and there are a few perhaps not so widely known authors with their own gems as well. And let's not forget Woody Allen.

The best part of this anthology is that all profits go to HIV/AIDS educ
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Something of a greatest-hits list of authors currently living. They primarily have very, very different styles, which makes this a perfect before-bed read. Gordimer does an excellent job of mixing them so that two consecutive stories aren't alike, but aren't different enough to be abrasive if read in order. One of the most interesting parts was the last few pages when the contributors are able to describe themselves; I was a bit surprised by who submitted a laundry list of impressive accomplishm ...more
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't generally read short stories by choice because I find them dissatisfying. When I read, I want something I can crawl inside and absorb into, and with a short story, I barely have time to look around when suddenly it's over. But I chose this collection looking for stories to read with my seniors this year, and it is a good one. Not sure how much of it I'll use with my students, but I actually enjoyed it a great deal. The selection of authors is impressive -- Achebe, Atwood, Marquez, Sarama ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was initially drawn to this collection because I lost both my parents to AIDS but found these master storytellers offered far reaching and broader life lessons. Arthur Miller's "Bulldog" powerfully presented a young boy's loss of innocents. I was affected by the way he focused on small moments, memory and mystery. Paul Theroux's "Warm Dogs" left me to reflect on my own struggle with the "heart vs. head/intuition vs. logic" balance. I could go on and on. Each story was wonderful and certainly w ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love short stories as they make me feel like iI have accomplished something in an evening. Not all of the short sotries resonated with me though, like Susan Sontags short, Im still trying to unravel that. Overall the book was an emotional roll-a-coaster and I have revisited "Death of a Son" twice now because of the beauty in the story telling but the pain in the narrative also. I recommend pruchasing the book for two reasons a.) proceed benefit AIDS in Africa research and the authors of the sh ...more
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really only wanted to review one of the stories, but couldn't find it individually.

A Meeting, At Last by Hanif Kureishi.

I initially had difficulty getting to grips with Eric's frenetic pace of speech, but got into it as I realised that the breaks with Morgan's narrative reflected their characters. Eric was frantic and wanted to get to the bottom of things, while Morgan was drawing things out in his anxiety, still trying to avoid fully engaging.

Favourite part:
"...Morgan and Caroline, dawdling
Heather S. Jones
i picked this up at the UN when i was working there and had *salman rushdie*, john updike, and nadine gordimer sign inside the coverpage!! DREAM! i looked into the eyes of RUSHDIE and exchanged a few words with UPDIKE the darling of the newyorker. such a thrill!!

the collection of short stories from incredible writers all over the world is such a treasure. the contributors were told to contribute one of their own favorite pieces of writing.

it's been a great read on these long train rides through
Erinina Marie
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: erinina-approved
Telling Tales edited by Nadine Gordimer

This book was a gift from my roomate. It is one of the best gifts that I have ever recieved as a writer and avid reader. I am normally disappointed by anthologies or short story collections, but this book is the best of the best as selected by themselves. There are some true gems in this book. While quite a few are centered on death or relationships, these are the major drives in our nature, I suppose. Also the proceeds go to a good cause, the fight against
Alex Roma
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I realized when I started reading this that I had torn out the Woody Allen story upon purchase of the book and that made me happy because fuck Woody Allen. Still, it wasn't my favorite anthology. A few of the stories were very good. I loved the Margaret Atwood one. A few of them tried to be very deep or to ~capture the essence of human nature and they just didn't click with me. I will say, I liked the cause, all of the money went to HIV/AIDS research, and they were all very well written. It's ju ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A little uneven in a few places (I really disliked one or two of the stories) but the good is so good that it more than makes up for the less palatable. This is a rich and varied collection (which may explain, based on the different authors and kinda of fiction presented, why there were bits I disliked) that is not to be missed.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Great authors, great writing, but sooo depressing. Do we define great literature now by how dark it is? Can't good writers write anything nice, inspiring and uplifting? At least the essays by African authors opened my eyes to a very different (and more difficult) life than my own. But all the essays were sad, which just doesn't seem necessary.
Hamsaveni Vigneswararao
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a collection of short stories put together to raise money for HIV/AIDs patients. As in all anthologies, there will be some stories that appeal and others that don't, since there are so many different styles. It's still a good read for those who like both modern and traditional fiction.
Mark Swain
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Some of the writers I thought I'd enjoy, however I didn't. But those were balanced perfectly by the ones that were a pleasant surprise. I loved Bulldog by Arthur Miller. I feel in the end it just edges a four star.The others I especially liked were Margaret Atwood (a surprise) and John Updike. I will read more of both of these as a result.
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: writers
Recommended to Susan by: Tiphanie
07/08: Now I have 2 copies of this book! An ARC and the normal one!

Lots of different styles represented in this collection.

"The Firebird's Nest" by Salman Rushdie and "The Letter Scene" by Susan Sontag are among my favorites.

Grade: B+
May 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a quick read
This anthology of short stories includes famous authors and nobel-laureates that are contributing their talents for the fight against AIDS. There are several profound stories and it's nice to know that all efforts in creating/selling this book go towards a good cause.
Mar 23, 2007 rated it liked it
Not usually a fan of short stories...but these were sort of neat because they were from all over the world - plus all the proceeds go to AIDS programming - so yes you should buy it even if not to read it...
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of stories and excellent selection of contributing writers. You won't regret spending time with these batch of shorts. Perhaps it was premature, but when I finished reading the first short story by Henry Miller, I knew I was going to enjoy this book.
Beverley Kaye
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
A collection of 21 short stories from an international group of writers, five Nobel prize winners, with a diversity of themes and cultures. A excellent introduction to this esteemed group of authors.
Feb 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Collection of handpicked short stories by many talented writers from all over the world for HIV education/treatment effort. Stories, though not about HIV-AIDS, are serious and most of them classics, for which the writers took no money for this anthology.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
A wonderful anthology, though Woody Allen's piece was totally out of place. I laughed at it but was irritated that it was in there. I guess he wouldn't be surprised at being called irritating, that's like "his thing."
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This anthology is a collection from very esteemed writers, but I agree with the other reviewer that said it was dark and depressing. Still and all, short stories are good ... if dark and depressing, it only lasts for a little while. An intelligent read.
Kiyaa Kanjukia
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Part of the reason why I give 4 stars to this book is because it introduced me to new authors! Es'kia Mphahlele, Michel Tournier, Paul Theroux and Claudio Magris, all of whom I loved. However, there's certainly too much death in this collection of stories.
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
I read this book for class, and I really liked a couple of the stories (Salman Rushdie, John Updike, and Jose Saramago), but most of them kind of remind me why I don't like most modern books.
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Nadine Gordimer was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity".

Gordimer's writing dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. Under that regime, works such as Burger'
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