Saturday, August 16, 2014 |
A deeply moving story about the people of an Ontario community struggling to put their lives back together following the devastation of the First World War. A collection of entwined characters, including a terribly scarred and traumatized young soldier named Kenan and his wife Tress, must confront their sorrows and secrets in Itani's exploration of the lies we choose to reveal, and the ones we may need to live with.
From the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury:
"Every word feels simple, right, and natural in Frances Itani's Tell. You're slowly immersed in the mystery: Who gave up a baby for adoption, and why? Itani peels back time to show us Kenan, a damaged and disfigured WWI soldier readjusting to life in Ontario, and his marriage to Tress. Itani inhabits many voices with ease, pathos and humour. Her choice of details expertly builds our understanding of her characters' times, foibles and moral choices, and she connects them in a hugely satisfying ending. Tell is a treasure: serious with humorous moments, potent and controlled, subtle yet deeply moving."
"She is in this room with three other women, a man and a baby. The baby, six weeks old, sleeps while nestled against her mother's arm. Papers are arranged neatly before a woman who wears a tailored jacket over a grey dress. Zel sees compassion on her face; she senses it from her manner and her voice. A brooch in the shape of a miniature sleigh, with silver slats and curved gold runners, is pinned to the woman's jacket. A tiny gold chain droops from the crossbar to represent a rope attached to the front of the sleigh. It's as if the woman, who has introduced herself as Mrs. Davis, has a playful side, though not here, not as the official who will ensure that the documents on her desk are duly signed. In other circumstances, Zel would ask Mrs. Davis about the brooch, its origins, its maker."
From Tell by Frances Itani ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.