Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4 and a half stars
Genre: Non-fiction, true stories
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
The Moth, for those who’ve yet to encounter them, is a global phenomenon, a not-for-profit with a focus on the art of storytelling. For twenty years, they’ve held events around the world, gathering together storytellers sharing their truths, and packed crowds engaging with a staggering range of human experiences. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, but always, you think and wonder. This is the power of The Moth.
The Moth isn’t about telling tall tales- every story is true, taken from the life of the speaker. And in these moments mundane, exotic, and beautifully profound, there’s something that speaks to our intrinsic humanity and shared experiences.
There’s magic and monsters at play here.
‘All These Wonders’ is the second collection of true stories from The Moth’s events, a melting pot of names familiar and new, each with a story to tell for those willing to take the time to read. Before performances, each piece is lovingly workshopped and crafted to find the grandness in even the most humble of moments. Each story is an unpublished gift to the world, to the audience, to gods of truth both new and old.
Truth is, ‘All These Wonders’ isn’t a quick read. The stories here are the kind you can’t help but pause over and sit with a while, rather than a speed-reader’s delight. But that’s kinda the point here. These aren’t the sort of stories easily forgotten- whether it’s Magda Szubanski talking about reclaiming fear, or Louis C.K. on finding yourself in moments of sheer wtfery, or Omar Musa learning the power of words- there’s something profound and relatable in every shared story from around the world. There’s victory and loss, love and grief, risk and courage and everything in between. A veritable cosmos of human lifetimes scaled down into a tome both manageable and almost overwhelming.
It’s hard to talk about ‘All These Wonders’ without risking spoilers, and with such lovingly crafted stories, it seems wrong to lessen them in such a way. So instead, I’ll say this: this is one of those quirky books that catches your attention oh-so-fleetingly as you wander the bookshelves. It flits in the periphery of your vision, and if you love memoir, short story, or simply storytelling at its finest, I hope you’ll pick up a copy and start to read.
‘All These Wonders’ is published by Allen & Unwin, and is available wherever good books are sold. You can also find The Moth through their podcast, and at story slams around the world.
The GrandSLAMS will be held in Australia later this year.