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Tallest Stories

by Rhys Hughes

Tallest Stories

366 pages

Published February 2013

Welcome to The Tallest Story, the second most grandiose pub in the world – always at least one narrow alley and three imaginary corners away from the Cardiff waterfront – a pub that lies in another dimension, somewhere between dawn and sunrise and adjacent to both infinity and eternity – where the floor is not made out of toenails, but out of all the words that are spoken for no good reason. A place where the only currency that matters is stories...

If every tale told in a tavern is a tall story, then what happens when the entire universe becomes a tavern? It means that every story ever told is tall and therefore untrue, and this includes the true tales. They are all lies. But a lie is a concept only possible because it can be contrasted with truth: without its opposite concept it makes no sense at all. This implies one of two unlikely things, (a) the universe is not really a tavern, (b) there are other universes beyond this one where true stories exist. If you ever learn which is the correct answer to this riddle please let me know.

60 linked stories, 60 illustrations, 18 years in the making - this is probably Rhys Hughes' most important book to date.



Rhys Hughes was born in 1966 and began writing fiction from a young age. None of his early efforts saw print, mainly because he never submitted them anywhere or even showed them to anyone else. Those stories have all been lost.

Eventually he began sending his work to editors. His first published story was called ‘An Ideal Vocation’ and it appeared in an obscure anthology in 1992. Encouraged by this “success”, he then proceeded to bombard the British small-press with hundreds of eccentric tales for almost two decades. His first book, the now almost legendary Worming the Harpy, was published by Tartarus Press in 1995. He has published many volumes since then, chiefly collections of short-stories but also a few novels, in several languages.

He considers his three best and most “Hughesian” books to be The Smell of Telescopes, The Truth Spinner and (of course) Tallest Stories. The latter took 15 years to put together and is a self-contained story-cycle that is also a microcosmic version of the grand story-cycle that will eventually feature all his lifetime’s fiction, each story linked forwards, backwards and sideways to other stories in the cycle.

When not writing or reading, he indulges his passions for mountaineering, music, philosophy and making things that only sometimes work.



Tallest Stories is available in the following formats:

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