By Oscar Mandel
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THE MASTERFUL CONTEMPORARY FABLES OF OSCAR MANDEL
A collection of Oscar Mandel’s fiction, including the Gobble-Up Stories, Chi Po and the Sorcerer, and The History of Sigismund, Prince of Poland. The products of a life spent learning and thinking, these stories offer surprising insight into the human condition through fables and fanciful tales rooted in philosophy. Drawing on the French narrative form of the conte and following in the fabulist traditions of Jean de La Fontaine, Edmond Rostand, and Pedro Calderón, Mandel challenges the reader with glowing prose, a sly wit, and ethical ambiguity couched in delicious and amusing tales of animals, princes, and kings.
A TASTE OF THE FABLES:
The Caterpillar and the Leaf
“Why are you nibbling me up?” said the leaf to the caterpillar. “It hurts; I am bleeding; I will die.”
“Believe me,” answered the caterpillar, “I have nothing against you personally.”
“Then why don’t you go elsewhere?” wept the leaf.
“I have nothing for you personally either,” answered the caterpillar, munching on.
The Conceited Minnow
A fisherman had already caught three handsome trout—they were lying in a basket next to him—when he hooked a minnow. He was about to throw it back into the stream when the minnow, catching sight of his grimace, cried out, “And what’s the matter with me, if I may ask? Let me inform you that I’m as good as any trout that swims in these waters. I’m small, but I am good-looking, smart, and appetizing. In short, I resent your gesture of contempt and demand to be treated with the respect I deserve.”
“Oh well, if you insist,” said the fisherman, and he tossed the minnow into his basket.
I don’t know about people, but with minnows, once the ego breaks loose, there’s no telling where it will stop.
PRAISE FOR OSCAR MANDEL
“Delightful little tales, best described as modern Aesop fables.” -Hollywood Reporter
“Oscar Mandel’s present-day, tongue-in-cheek fables are worthy descendants of Aesop and La Fontaine.” —The Hartford Courant
“Their intimate spectacle, refreshing, witty and thoroughly engaging, is among the season’s happy surprises.” —The International Herald Tribune
Chi Po and the Sorcerer
“Joyfulness and simple wisdom.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A wondrous story.” —McCall’s
“Indirect, subliminal magic.” —New York Times
“Strong, sophisticated stories.” —Chicago Tribune
Oscar Mandel is an acclaimed Belgian-born American author and scholar who has published on numerous topics in English as well as in French. He has written on the subjects of literary theory and art history, translated plays, and authored his own poetry, drama, and fiction. He is a Professor Emeritus of Literature at California Institute of Technology, having taught as a professor there for over 40 years. Learn more at oscarmandel.com