by Thomas Farber
(Publication Date: August 15, 2005)
Available for $9.95 from your local bookstore or
In TRUTH BE TOLD: New & Collected Premortems, Thomas Farber extends a career-long narrative impulse to cheerfully merciless conclusions. Reverberating with deceptive economy and relentless wit, his subversive brevities evoke French epigrammists, Zen koans, and the pithy wisdoms of Country music. Unflinching, these beyond-short stories insist on the saving grace of language, the consolations of (gallows) humor. Included here as well are the author’s three essays appraising the qualities of his ten-year love affair with these retorts, repercussions & wrys.
Recipient of Guggenheim, National Endowment, Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor fellowships, author of many works of fiction and creative nonfiction, Thomas Farber is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of California, Berkeley. Visit thomasfarber.org
With pungent wit and cynical insight worthy of Diogenes, Farber’s epigrams cast a cold eye on contemporary manners, morals and mortality. His gimlet observations spare no one, least of all their author. A painfully accomplished performance.”
– Stephen Kessler, author of After Modigliani
Tom Farber’s TRUTH BE TOLD offers the sort of wicked pleasures to be found in Gustave Flaubert’s A Dictionary of Platitudes; here the great fun is (un)leavened by some equally engaging, astute critical prose on the subject of the text: epigrams. The end.
– Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment
Tom Farber’s TRUTH BE TOLD does more than compact the world into the essence perceived by its idiosyncratic compositor. It also hints at an expansive hidden narrative of sex, death, joy and despair. In short, as the author presumably prefers all things, it may be an epigramasterpiece.
– Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of A Faker’s Dozen
Many of us have night thoughts which amaze us with their acuity, brilliance, charm, and we promise ourselves to write them down in the morning. And then we fall asleep. Thomas Farber has the good sense to keep paper and pen by his bed and to note his epigrams before they are lost. I may ask to borrow pen and paper from him, hoping to preserve something like his comedy, cynicism, melancholy–the evidence of a sharp mind’s inwardness.
– Herbert Gold, author of Daughter Mine
Like the bright mirror-image of a necklace inlaid with filaments and gems of well-worn experience, this lovingly and thoughtfully tempered treasury of aphorisms will dazzle and soothe readers who try it on. Thomas Farber is a fine, witty jeweler of memory, thought, insight and dream.
– Al Young, author of The Sound of Dreams Remembered
About Thomas Farber’s earlier work:
His prose is as spare and specifying as black-and white photography.
– The Nation
The chapters…read like epigrams–witty, paradoxical riffs…so compressed, the sides of the page appear to bulge outward.
– Kirkus Reviews
Lifts the spirit with its profound understanding…Each chapter is…almost a parable.
– Houston Chronicle
Farber brings a poet’s care to the craft of writing, sculpturing the phonetic beauty of words.
– San Francisco Chronicle