The Tell: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Owen and Mira's marriage is as stale as the dusty air in the house they have inherited from Mira's family. They are dull with memories of past losses and stumble through their days like ghosts until Wilton Deere, an aging, wealthy, ex-TV star moves in next door. Deere, longing to repair a severed connection with his daughter Anya, gradually inserts himself into Owen and Mira's lives, showering them with gifts and money, seducing them both. Deere eventually lures Mira into a sordid world of slot machines and addiction, which threatens their marriage. Lies, betrayal, secrets undulating beneath the surface of things, The Tell is a fascinating study of the intricacies of relationship - what is known, what we allow others to see. — Amy Palmer


An elegant and haunting novel of love and family, The Tell demands that we reconsider our notions of marriage—duty, compromise, betrayal, and the choice to stand by or leave the ones we love.

Mira and Owen's marriage is less stable than they know when Wilton Deere, an aging, no longer famous TV star moves in to the grand house next door. With plenty of money and plenty of time to kill, Wilton is charming but ruthless as he inserts himself into the couple's life in a quest for distraction, friendship—and most urgently—a connection with Anya, the daughter he abandoned years earlier. Facing stresses at home and work, Mira begins to accompany Wilton to a casino and is drawn to the slot machines. Escapism soon turns to full-on addiction and a growing tangle of lies and shame that threatens her fraying marriage and home. Betrayed and confused, Owen turns to the mysterious Anya, who is testing her own ability to trust her father after many years apart.

The Tell is a finely-wrought novel about risk: of dependence, of responsibility, of addiction, of trust, of violence. Told with equal parts suspense, sympathy, and psychological complexity, it shows us the intimate and shifting ways in which we reveal ourselves before we act, and what we assume but don’t know about those closest to us.

About the Author

Hester Kaplan is the author of The Edge of Marriage, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Kinship Theory, a novel. Her short stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories series. She teaches in Lesley University's MFA Program in Creative Writing and lives in Rhode Island.

Praise For…

“Hester Kaplan is a master of her craft, and in The Tell she uses her prodigious talent to put a marriage under her microscope. Every sentence of this book is breathtaking.”
Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

“Hester Kaplan brings such fresh language and uncanny insight to whatever her keen eye lands upon, it’s as if she creates it anew. Everything, everyone, every inflection in The Tell is charged with precision, feeling, and consequence.”
Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others

The Tell is an homage to The Great Gatsby: The competing forces of true love and false idols are played out beautifully in the course of a roiling relationship with a larger-than-life neighbor. This is a wonderful book.”
Antonya Nelson, author of Bound

“Gorgeous and haunting, Kaplan’s riveting new novel about what we fight to hide, or ache to reveal about ourselves, grabs you by the throat and builds to a crescendo that’s pure Greek tragedy. It’s hard not to use the word genius.”
Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You

The Tell is an engrossing novel, at once richly observed and tautly plotted. Wilton Deere is one of the most riveting and unsettling characters I’ve encountered in a long time. I read this hungrily, and with great pleasure.”
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles

“Kaplan writes with remarkable acuity about the psychological challenges faced by each of her vulnerable characters. . . . Highly recommended for readers who enjoy the psychologically complex work of Annie Proulx, or Stewart O’Nan.”

“Kaplan’s characters are impeccably crafted.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Tell is filled with fascinating subplots and well-drawn supporting roles. . . . An exceptionally good read.”
The Providence Phoenix

“A wonderfully written, perceptive, and engaging novel. . . . Kaplan has created a story inhabited with impeccable and image-sharpened tremors, so acutely attuned to insights, epiphanies, betrayals and threats that I couldn’t put it down.”
The Providence Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062184023
ISBN-10: 0062184024
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Pages: 352
Language: English
Series: P.S.
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