Saturday 5 November 2005

Tales of Adam By Daniel Quinn

Tales of Adam
Daniel Quinn
Random House of Canada
November 2005

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Daniel Quinn, best know for his Ishmael trilogy (Ishmael, My Ishmael & The Story of B), has released some more writings in this vein of thought. That is the good news; the bad news is, the book is only about a hundred pages long.

For those fans of Quinn’s earlier writings it will be a treat, a little treasure to be savored over and over again. I have already read it twice and got even more out of it the second time. The book is broken into seven teaching stories, much like the stories used to illustrate points in the trilogy, except they are not woven into a larger story.

The stories are each told by ‘Adam’ to his son Able. The stories teach lessons on sustainability, greed, wisdom and knowledge. They teach Able and us our place in the universe and our responsibility as creatures of reason. In teaching about ecology, Adam states, “Every track begins and ends in the hand of god. Every track is a lifetime long.” P.22.

In talking about place Adam says: “No Place where there is life is a desert except to man.” P8. This sentiment on place echoes much of Terry Tempest Williams’ thought. Towards the end, Adam tells his son, “We are seekers of holy places.” P.74, and that is true of many of us. We are questers on a journey to find out who we are and our place in the universe. These sorts of stories might help us along the path.

(First published in Imprint 2005-11-05 as ‘Teaching from Adam’)

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