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Preposterous Proverbs

Preposterous Proverbs
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Max Cryer

Preposterous Proverbs

Why fine words butter no parsnips

Max Cryer

A proverb is to speech what salt is to food... Proverbs exist in every language yet rarely do we notice and acknowledge their existence.

Some sayings have become so familiar that we are scarcely aware they are proverbs. It is only when someone like Max Cryer takes the time to look at them that we can see how these ‘pearls of wisdom’ have played such a key role in the moral guidance of our society.

In Preposterous Proverbs, Max looks at a vast array of proverbs from around the world.

Proverbs on birth, food, women and love rub shoulders with proverbs on money, animals, sin and death. Max has chosen some of the most interesting, perplexing and beautiful proverbs, and with his characteristic wry wit he analyses their meaning and truth.

A great book to dip into, Preposterous Proverbs will take you from Greece (‘A thousand men cannot undress a naked man’) to China (‘A dry finger cannot pick up salt’), from Japan (‘Fools and scissors must be carefully handled’) to India (‘A fat spouse is a quilt for the winter’).

Sometimes the wisdom is distinctly odd, sometimes it has become outdated, and sometimes it is simply contradictory. After all, do ‘many hands make light work’ or do ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? You can’t really have it both ways!

Preposterous Proverbs will be a hoot for anyone who loves literature and is the perfect Christmas gift with it’s cute size and quirky cover.


Specifications: 198 x 126 mm | 272 pp | Paperback


About the author:

Max Cryer is a language expert with many years’ experience of researching and writing on the subject. A well-known broadcaster and entertainer, he hosts a weekly radio slot on quirks of the English language. In a long career, he has been a schoolteacher, a compere and television host, as well as a performer on the opera stage in London and in cabaret in Las Vegas and Hollywood. Now a full-time writer living in Auckland, he has written many books, including Who Said That First?, Love Me Tender and The Godzone Dictionary all published by Exisle





"Max Cryer, the wordsmith who compiled Preposterous Proverbs, has subtitiled it Why fine words butter no parsnips. That about sums it up. This is a quirky, fascinating delve into the human psyche over millenia that has resulted in such gems as "A fat spouse is a quilt for the winter" (India) and "If my aunt had been a man she'd be my uncle" (England)."

   - Chloe Hope, The Advocate

Watch Max talking about Preposterous Proverbs


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