Cover image for Tell : a novel
Title:
Tell : a novel
Author:
Itani, Frances, 1942- , author.
Publication Information:
New York : Black Cat, a paperback imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 2014.
Physical Description:
321 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
The international debut sensation Deafening launched the story of Grania, deaf from the age of five, and her sister Tress, who helped to create their secret language. Tell picks up from the return of the sisters' husbands from the war, and follows Tress's partner Kenan, a young shell-shocked soldier who confines himself indoors, venturing outside only at night to visit the frozen bay where he skated as a boy. Saddened by her altered marriage, Tress seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. But Maggie and her husband, Am, have problems of their own. Maggie finds joy singing in the town's newly created choral society. Am, troubled by the widening gulf in his marriage, spends more and more time in the clock tower above their apartment. As the second decade of the twentieth century draws to a close, the lives of the two couples become increasingly entwined. Startling revelations surface as layers of silence begin to crumble. Told with Itani's signature power and grace, Tell is both a deeply moving story about the burdens of the past, and a beautifully rendered reminder of how the secrets we bury to protect ourselves can also be the cause of our undoing.
General Note:
"First published in Canada in 2014 by HarperCollins Publisher" -- title page verso.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780802123367
Format :
Book

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Hamburg Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

The international debut sensation Deafening launched the story of Grania, deaf from the age of five, and her sister Tress, who helped to create their secret language. Tell picks up from the return of the sisters' husbands from the war, and follows Tress's partner Kenan, a young shell-shocked soldier who confines himself indoors, venturing outside only at night to visit the frozen bay where he skated as a boy. Saddened by her altered marriage, Tress seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. But Maggie and her husband, Am, have problems of their own. Maggie finds joy singing in the town's newly created choral society. Am, troubled by the widening gulf in his marriage, spends more and more time in the clock tower above their apartment. As the second decade of the twentieth century draws to a close, the lives of the two couples become increasingly entwined. Startling revelations surface as layers of silence begin to crumble.

Told with Itani's signature power and grace, Tell is both a deeply moving story about the burdens of the past, and a beautifully rendered reminder of how the secrets we bury to protect ourselves can also be the cause of our undoing.


Author Notes

Frances Itani is the author of 15 books including Requiem , chosen by the Washington Post as one of 2012's top fiction titles of the year; and the #1 bestseller Deafening , which won a Commonwealth Award, was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was published in 17 territories. Itani lives in Ottawa.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* While the secrets in a small Ontario town after WWI may impede relationships, secrets also serve to maintain the social fabric in this moving sequel to Itani's acclaimed novel, Deafening (2003). Kenan Oak returns home from the war in late 1919, damaged and disfigured, keeping to himself except for visits with his wife Tress' uncle, Am O'Neill, and sharing his wartime experiences only in letters to a tubercular former comrade. Am is unable to talk, even about his physical condition, with his wife of 20 years, Maggie, a gifted singer who is becoming increasingly involved with her choral society and its European music director, Lukas Sebastian. Bracketing the story with events from late 1920 and early 1921, Itani recounts the happenings of a year earlier, as Kenan works on regaining his balance, with his now-useless left arm, on the town's skating pond, and Maggie and her close friend Zel practice for the New Year's Eve concert, a major town event. A final secret binds the Oaks and O'Neills in a new and permanently lasting way. Told in Itani's wonderfully lucid and fluid prose, this is a beautiful story of love and loss in their many manifestations.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

This heartening novel from Itani (Deafening) concerns the different tribulations of two households forced to grapple with in the aftermath of World War I. A maimed infantryman having recuperated from his injuries, Kenan Oak returns to his rural hometown of Deseronto, Ontario. He still suffers probably from what is today diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder, and becomes a housebound recluse while his beleaguered wife, Tress, works in her parents' hotel kitchen. Although he picks up side work as a bookkeeper, he laments their unhappy, childless marriage. However, all hope isn't lost in this tale of recovery: Kenan renews his boyhood passion for ice skating and corresponds with his old army friend Hugh recuperating from tuberculosis in Britain. Kenan is only able to confide in Tress's middle-aged uncle Am O'Neil, an ex-farmer and now apartment maintenance man, who copes with his own strained marriage to Maggie. She works at the library and leans on her friend Zel Jackson for her support. Blessed with a "wonderful soprano voice," Maggie loves singing in the choral society directed by the charismatic Lukas Sebastian who, unlike Am, is able to communicate with her. Their romantic affair sets in motion the complications that impact the Oak and O'Neil families. Their lives soon take several life-changing turns in Itani's sensitive, well-written novel, full of a cast of strong characters. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. In this sequel to her debut novel, Deafening (2003), Itani picks up her characters' stories one year after the end of World War I. It is close to the holidays in the small Canadian town of Deseronto, Ontario. Kenan, grievously wounded physically and psychologically by the horrors of war, is just now starting to leave the safety of his home, venturing out at night. His wife, Tress, struggles to break through his grief even as she mourns their inability to have children. Tress's Aunt Maggie is the young woman's supportive confidante, though her own marriage to Am continues to erode following the deaths of their young children during a diphtheria epidemic decades earlier. Am's patient presence draws out Kenan, yet Am is still losing Maggie, who is caught up in the quiet appeal of Luc, the choral director, who is preparing her for her three solos in the annual Deseronto New Year's Eve concert. VERDICT Itani's gorgeous gift for writing quietly absorbing stories of torn lives bravely trying to carry on is on full display here with all the power of her previous novels. [See Prepub Alert, 7/28/14.]-Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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