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Kaplan, who won the Flannery O’Connor Award for her collection, The Edge of Marriage (1999), again tackles the complexities of an imperfect marriage and the ways in which a dysfunctional family tries to heal itself. Owen and Mira are struggling. The art school Mira runs is dangerously underfunded, and the elementary school at which Owen teaches is due to close at year’s end. Then their home life changes dramatically when Wilton, an aging ex-TV actor, buys the house next door. Wilton lost contact with his daughter years ago and is trying desperately to reestablish their relationship. As that process stalls, Mira becomes a substitute daughter for Wilton, and their frequent visits to a local casino soon create a strain on Owen and Mira’s marriage. Kaplan writes with remarkable acuity about the psychological challenges faced by each of her vulnerable characters, drawing the reader into their struggles to deal with their past mistakes and their attempts to forge a more stable future. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy the psychologically complex work of Annie Proulx, or Stewart O’Nan. --Deborah Donovan
“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.” (Booklist)
“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)
I'd say this is "just average". I expected more, for it to be deeper. There is no "pow", it never grabbed me. For me, it rambled along. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Docsdaughter45
The author has a lovely writing style and it is beautifully worded. It was a quick read, but the fact that every character was a nut case made it depressing. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Barbara Hulsey
It was just an average story for me, although I still enjoyed reading it. My book club was disappointed in it however.Published on June 13, 2013 by M. Greco
Frankly, I thought the book was just ok.....had to read it for my Book Club, but would not have picked it out for myself otherwise.Published on June 3, 2013 by Amazon Customer
One of my main curiosities throughout The Tell was trying to figure out which of the three main characters would have the most meaningful discoveries regarding personal growth of... Read morePublished on June 2, 2013 by Beth DiIorio
I hate to seem hyperbolic, but Hester Kaplan's The Tell is just about the best character-driven novel I've read in ages. Read morePublished on May 30, 2013 by k.c.
I enjoyed both the writing and the story very much. The characters were frustrating - all so stuck, but that is what this book is about. Read morePublished on May 10, 2013 by Jane OFarrell
This might have been a good short story. Unfortunately, the author embellished it with much too much description thus slowing down the pace of the story. Read morePublished on April 17, 2013 by proofreader