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The story that's travelling the globe!


New editions coming soon in Spanish, Korean and Dutch...


ORDER North American hardcover and paperback

The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness tells a tale that is both bizarre and true. It began several years back Joel was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Though usually a treatable form of the disease, in his case there was a strange complication; when he awoke from surgery, he discovered he could no longer speak.

So it was he found himself living inside a story as strange as any he had ever told, filled with twists and turns he could not have made up. His life unravelled, not just as a professional storyteller, but as a husband and father of two young children. Yet, over time, he came to see his loss as a gift for the lessons it brought, about listening, loving and letting go. 

This book recounts Joel's journey, a true tale woven together by the stories he has collected in his travels. It follows the twists and turns of his tale, leading up to the strangest twist of all—a year and one-half after he had lost his voice, long after he had given up hope of its return, it was miraculously restored to him. In the end, he was left with this story—“...a tale of lost horses and found wisdom, of buried treasures and wild strawberries, of the beggar king and the secret of happiness.”

A BOOK SENSE selection.

“Nothing less than a spiritual odyssey.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“I love this book. I love this book. I love this book...Heartwarming, smart and wonderfully written.”
Detroit Free Press

Hardcover: $22.95 (240pp) / ISBN 1-565 12-290-9 / Algonquin Books
Paperback: $12.95 (228pp) / ISBN-10 1-56512-512-6 / Algonquin Books

Read Chapter One—“The Lost Horse”

See published reviews of the book