Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Truth About Stories

A Native Narrative

2008
Author:

Thomas King

The Truth About Stories

Illuminates the relationship between storytelling and the Native North American experience

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.

Trust a novelist and English professor to get to the heart of how stories and storytelling shape our perceptions. This is a wonderful study of the power of words.

Booklist

“Stories are wondrous things. And they are dangerous.” 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.

With wry humor, King deftly 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. So many stories have been told about Indians, King comments, that “there is no reason for the Indian to be real. The Indian simply has to exist in our imaginations.”

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. “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.”


The Truth About Stories

Thomas King is the author of Medicine River; Green Grass, Running Water; Truth and Bright Water; and a collection of short stories, One Good Story, That One. In 2003, he was the first Native North American to deliver Canada’s Prestigious Massey Lectures. The Truth About Stories won one of Canada’s highest literary honors, the Trillium Award, in the same year. He is professor of English at the University of Guelph.

The Truth About Stories

Trust a novelist and English professor to get to the heart of how stories and storytelling shape our perceptions. This is a wonderful study of the power of words.

Booklist

You might find enjoyment in prose about ephemeral oral traditions, for which I’d recommend The Truth About Stories. [King’s] wit and introspection have given me much pleasant reading.

Phi Delta Kappan

A collection of thought-provoking essays examining the importance of the oral tradition. Storyteller Thomas King addresses Native cultural concerns and their primal link to storytelling. Intriguing and entertaining. Highly recommended for all tribal college collections and literature classes.

Tribal College Journal

In Medicine River and Green Grass, Running Water, Thomas King portrayed contemporary Indian characters—especially their wry humor—with exceptional skill. Fortunately, King tells his story with the same soulful wit he employs in his fiction—moving within sight of cynicism sometimes but not dwelling there.

Christian Science Monitor

A nonfiction book purportedly about the power and meaning of stories, but really it’s a tome about the mysteries of identity, with meanderings into other topics including history, literacy, and photography.

City Pages

His style is penetrating. King gives his audience the refreshing, insightful blend of oration and inscription. Recommend this book to any student of writing, mythology, or history.

MultiCultural Review

What is revealed in this graceful, even seductive book of essays about storytelling by the esteemed Cherokee novelist, radio personality, university professor, and Canadian émigré is that what is as important as the stories we tell about the world are the ways in which we interpret those stories.

World Literature in Review

King’s addresses artfully combine literary and cultural criticism, traditional Native American stories, and personal experience.

The Bloomsbury Review

As King steadily winds the stories of his narrative, one begins to nod along, relishing the repetition of the story of the earth that begins each chapter and the gentle yet empowering directive at the close.

The American Indian Quarterly

His stories help to explicate these often complex issues in an accessible manner without losing their significance or urgency.

The American Indian Quarterly

The Truth About Stories is seductive, entertaining and sneakily profound.

The North Coast Journal of Politics, People and Art