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The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A True Storyby Joel Ben Izzy
Synopses & Reviews
When a storyteller loses his voice, he believes he's lost everything. In fact, he's been given a great gift.
Once upon a time, a successful storyteller lost his voice to throat cancer. Deprived of the instrument of his art and his livelihood, he retreated into dark, sullen silence and depression. While searching for a spiritual explanation, he encountered his former mentor, a cantankerous and often drunk old man. Their meetings began a journey into the timeless wisdom of ancient tales: of beggars and kings, monks and tigers, lost horses, buried treasures, and ultimately the secret of happiness.
In this altogether original book, Joel ben Izzy shares his personal account of surviving loss, gaining wisdom, and rediscovering one's true purpose. Weaving in tales he's collected over the years from Sufi, Muslim, Chinese, Jewish, Iraqi, Zen Buddhist, Italian, and Indian cultures, he passes along the lessons he has learned. As we travel with ben Izzy from tragedy back into light and sound, we are encouraged to see our own lives as stories, and to open our own hearts to happiness.
"Joel ben Izzy has a peaceful, almost mesmerizing voice — a fine storyteller's voice — altered only when he becomes the characters in his tales. He does a perfect Yiddish accent, but he doesn't spoil other stories by struggling for genuine accents. Parables have morals: as he narrates the agonizing loss of his voice and ultimate recovery, he seeks lessons from his misery. One of his Chinese tales reminds us: 'What seems like a blessing may be a curse, and what seems like a curse may be a blessing.' Izzy begins each chapter with a fairy tale from some corner of the globe, then relates it to a segment of his life. The book is a blend of fiction and nonfiction genres much in fashion now: memoir, the journey toward healing, the spiritual awakening, the search for wisdom and meaning through pain and loss. Izzy's book will find a happy home next to those of Paulo Coelho, Mitch Albom, Sue Monk Kidd, Alice Seabold et al., and will be particularly popular in audio format. An Algonquin paperback (Reviews, July 28, 2003). (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness is an altogether original true story about a storyteller who loses his voice and believes he's lost everything. An encounter with his old teacher shows him that, in fact, he's been given a great gift. Their meetings lead him on a journey into the timeless wisdom of ancient tales—a world of beggars and kings, monks and tigers, lost horses and buried treasures—and, ultimately, toward the secret of happiness.
About the Author
JOEL BEN IZZY tells stories at festivals throughout the world and has written and produced six CDs, which have won awards from the American Library Association and the Parents' Choice Foundation. He's been a storytelling consultant to various companies, including Hewlett-Packard, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and Pixar Animation Studios. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two children.
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