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The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (2003)

by Thomas King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5041349,562 (4.14)14
"In The Truth About Stories, Native novelist and scholar Thomas King explores how stories shape who we are and how we understand and interact with other people. From creation stories to personal experiences, historical anecdotes to social injustices, racist propaganda to works of contemporary Native literature, King probes Native culture's deep ties to storytelling." "Thomas King weaves events from his own life, as a child in California, an academic in Canada, and a Native North American, with a wide-ranging discussion of stories told by and about Indians." "That imaginative Indian that North Americans hold dear has been challenged by Native writers - N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louis Owens, Robert Alexie, and others - who provide alternative narratives of the Native experience that question a past, create a present, and imagine a future. King reminds the reader, Native and non-Native, that storytelling carries with it social and moral responsibilities."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Short stories about Natives and the storytelling culture. Each chapter begins with the same basic story (minor details changed) which conveys the idea that you are following the narrator through several speaking engagements with different audiences. It also conveys the message that people are predictable in their responses to stories. I didn't look much closer than that at the meaning or themes to the book, but it would be interesting to really contemplate them with a group of readers.
Thomas King is a great storyteller and I always enjoy his books. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 24, 2023 |
Each chapter of this collection of essays begins with a similar recounting of a storyteller presenting a traditional story to an audience. Like the "what's different" puzzles, or like oral stories themselves, each time there are a few changes in the details. And each chapter ends with the same message: 'Take this story. It's yours. Do with it what you wish....Just never say your life would have been different if only you had heard it...'
So, while it does include some traditional stories, King focuses more on how the white culture's own stories impacts their dealings with and expectations of Native Americans. And how people in general limit or expand their behavior because of the 'stories' they tell themselves. Although he is Canadian, he has enough knowledge of history to include references to United States to demonstrate that his insights are not unique to Canada. The book was a pleasant surprise (I was gifted the tape & had no expectations) as I'm always interested in learning about how others see the world and adapt to change.
Heard as audiobook with frequent interruptions, so my review is not as cohesive as several other LT reviews. ( )
  juniperSun | Sep 12, 2022 |
This is an excellent reflection, meditation, history lesson on what it means to be indigenous today in Canada and North America.

I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing (https://www.librarything.com/profile/ashleytylerjohn) that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Oct 3, 2021 |
The written version of a series of broadcasts, all but the ultimate chapter which is unique to the book, begin with turtles all the way down and end with the reminder that you have taken on the burden of the chapter's truth -
"Just 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."
Some Native American stories, some biographical tales, some horror stories of what North American Europeans have done to, stolen from, made of, Native Americans - and are still busy doing, or not. No sweet nobility here, as his final chapter nails home, Thomas King knows how hollow our ethics are from the inside, as he has lived by them as well as beside them. ( )
  quondame | Apr 8, 2021 |
From what I remember I bought this book a few years ago because of Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe reading challenge. I didn’t get around to reading it then, but for some reason it popped out at me when I went to shelve a different book. So I picked it up and started reading.

It is a non-fiction book, a look at the power of stories and how what we tell stories about is what we become. And also what we come from. How stories influence society and culture and therefore influence everything. And all told in a very readable, entertaining way. I really enjoyed it.

King writes in almost a conversational way which is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to empathise with. He also covers a huge amount of ground. Not just the power of the story, but also history, colonialism, prejudice, racism and poverty. He has a huge amount to say and he writes intelligently about it all. He also references many other Native authors in his work, only one of whom I’ve read, so I must take a flick through his bibliography and see if there are others to pick up. ( )
1 vote Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
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For Helen, who has heard these stories before
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There is a story I know.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In The Truth About Stories, Native novelist and scholar Thomas King explores how stories shape who we are and how we understand and interact with other people. From creation stories to personal experiences, historical anecdotes to social injustices, racist propaganda to works of contemporary Native literature, King probes Native culture's deep ties to storytelling." "Thomas King weaves events from his own life, as a child in California, an academic in Canada, and a Native North American, with a wide-ranging discussion of stories told by and about Indians." "That imaginative Indian that North Americans hold dear has been challenged by Native writers - N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louis Owens, Robert Alexie, and others - who provide alternative narratives of the Native experience that question a past, create a present, and imagine a future. King reminds the reader, Native and non-Native, that storytelling carries with it social and moral responsibilities."--BOOK JACKET.

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