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The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness

A True Story

Joel ben Izzy

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

"Wonderful!” (Grace Paley).

“Heartwarming and smart and wonderfully written” (Detroit Free Press).

“Provides edifying advice, intimately given, like the best-selling Tuesdays with Morrie” (the Dallas Morning News).

“Altogether original” (Dr. Laura Schlessinger).

“This story will speak to the humanity of the reader” (Jewish Book World).

The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness is that rare, magical book—a book that tells a good story but also shows us how the tales we learned when we were children shed light on our adult lives. Joel ben Izzy had the unusual opportunity to relive those lessons when he lost his voice and reconnected with his old teacher, Lenny, a retired storyteller. Through his meetings with Lenny, Joel rediscovers the wisdom of ancient tales and takes us on a journey into a world of beggars and kings, monks and tigers, lost horses and buried treasures—and in the end tells us the secret of happiness.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 28, 2003 – First-time author ben Izzy's vocation as a professional storyteller may fill his life with heady myth and poetry, but as he acknowledges early on in this slim but memorable recollection of personal tragedy, "the absence of magic" in his childhood is the very thing "that sent me looking for it." He found it in the unlikeliest and most cruelly ironic way. After undergoing surgery to remove thyroid cancer, ben Izzy lost his voice—the instrument of not only his art, but also his livelihood. Telling himself that a return to the routine of performance would spark a recovery, ben Izzy accepted an offer to perform at a bar mitzvah, but only "whispers and gasps" emerged. Retreating into self-pity, anger, hopelessness and sullen solitude, the author searched, like the protagonists in the stories he used to tell, for a spiritual explanation of the loss. He reconnected with his estranged, cantankerous mentor, who offered support by telling dizzyingly enigmatic stories hinting at the idea that ben Izzy had been given a magical gift by losing his voice. When a doctor suggested he might be able to help ben Izzy speak again in a risky procedure, ben Izzy's wife told him she liked him better without it, an incident the author does not satisfyingly explain. But ben Izzy successfully translates the best elements of oral storytelling to the page; his memoir shines with brisk suspense as well as his unerring, precise eye for including only the elements of his hard-won wisdom that matter the most.
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 02, 2005
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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