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Unsaid: A Novel Hardcover – August 4, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street (August 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599954109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599954103
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An extraordinary story of animals, mortality, and the power of love. Everyone needs to read this novel!"—Garth Stein, author of the International Bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain

"UNSAID will really make you think about the relationship between people and animals. I was not able to put it down, and I read parts of it twice."—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human

"Enjoyed it thoroughly."—Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep

"...a remarkable book."—Susan Wilson, author of One Good Dog and The Fortune Teller's Daughter

"A poignant read on the meaning of life and its priorities--how death and despair can lead to renewal and life, but only if one realizes the interconnectedness of all creatures."—Irene M. Pepperberg, author of Alex and Me

"This moving and riveting novel beautifully expresses the transforming power of the human-animal relationship. Read it if you shared your life with an animal, but more importantly, read it if you haven't."—Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, and author of the bestseller Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food

"A suspenseful, heart-throbbing novel exploring the big questions of life, death, sentience, animal rights, compassion, righteous indignation, and what it is all about and why. The surprise twists are like an emotional roller coaster. Read it, weep, grab your chair, and gain insights into the big why!"—Allen M. Schoen, D.V.M., and author of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live

"Humans are pretty much a big-brained, self-centered, and arrogant lot, but when we allow ourselves to connect with other animals in deep and meaningful ways, they ground us and allow us to show who we really are--compassionate, empathetic, and caring beings. In this unique and moving novel, Neil Abramson shows just how strong our relationships with other animals can be, and how we can learn so much from our animal kin about their needs, their emotions, and respect, dignity, and love. I was continually moved as I read UNSAID and reflected on its important messages about just how important other animals are to us, and encourage you to read this intriguing book and share it widely."—Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals Matter, Wild Justice, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

"A remarkable book, uncanny in that its narrator is recently deceased, but vivid in its development of believable and complex characters, both human and nonhuman. The author embeds in the story important aspects of current controversies over the extent of animal capacities as well as a keen sense of the value of animal lives—Susan J. Armstrong, Professor Emerita, Humboldt State University, and co-editor, The Animal Ethics Reader

"Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, a novel of animal slaughter and the men who perform it, exerted a powerful influence on a much earlier generation. May I hope that Neil Abramson's novel, UNSAID, will have a similar effect on present day readers and help us understand that animals need us as much as we need them. A riveting tale!"—George K. Russell, Professor of Biology, Adelphi University and Senior Editor, Orion magazine

UNSAID says it all in a lyrical story about humanity's journey from betrayal to reconciliation with our animal kin. A beautiful, wrenching testimony."—G.A. Bradshaw, director and founder, The Kerulos Center, and author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity

"Neil Abramson has written a powerful and imaginative novel. His insights into the animal kingdom touched my heart. My book club will love it."—Meredith Brokaw, creator and co-author of the Penny Whistle book and Big Sky Cooking

"A compelling story of love, death, and ethics told with skill and sensitivity."—Carla Davis, Editor, Best Friends magazine

"If you love legal dramas...or dogs...or terrific writing...or originality...or people...or discovering wonderful new writers, then Neil Abramson's UNSAID is a book you simply must read."—David Rosenfelt, author of Dog Tags

About the Author

Neil Abramson is a partner in a Manhattan law firm, and his wife is a veterinarian. Abramson is also a past board member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal work on behalf of animals, and a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals.

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Customer Reviews

I cried, I laughed, and I was really sad when this book ended!
Erin C. Roper
It was also touching in many ways as characters struggle through loss and the fear of loss and the importance animals can play in our everyday lives.
Sunny Side Up
Loved all the animals different personalities and it was written very well.
P. Sullenberger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Forsythe on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I started this book experiencing a problem with the premise. Helena, a veterinarian who was involved in chimp research, comes back as an ethereal being after dying from cancer, and watches her husband slowly disintegrate while events unfold. As an atheist, I don't buy the premise - loved ones who have passed, watching human events before they are able to move on - so I was sure I was going to hate the book.

I was totally, one thousand percent, mistaken. I loved this book. I must have cried at least five times as the story progressed. If that happens to me, the person who doesn't believe in afterlife, etc., I can only imagine the reaction of caring people who believe in heaven and redemption. OMG, so to speak, they (you) will love Unsaid.

Unsaid has it all. The totally believable characters have human failings and aspirations, and secrets. I could feel for each one of the characters. I especially felt the heart wrenching pain of Jaycee, the chimp researcher who will do anything to prevent "her" chimp from being dumped into the abyss of the federal biological research program.

Once I decided to go with the premise of an afterlife as a literary device, I could not put the book down. I became part of this story, looking on - as Helena was - with a growing sense of helplessness to stop events. As the plot unfolded, I couldn't help but take the revelations to heart. I recalled, and regretted, so much that I had left unsaid with my dad and my brother before they died.

Reading this book, I remembered when I was a child and touched the soft hand of a chimpanzee. I understood the connection Helena felt, when she was alive and touched the hand of a chimpanzee for the first time. The connection stays with you for life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book based upon the description and received it inexplicably before its release date. I read it in one day! I don't cry lightly. Any woman who works for me and comes into my office with tears in her eyes hears me quote a line from a Tom Hanks movie--"There is no crying in baseball--when you get a grip on yourself you can come back later!!", I read this book with my sunglasses on-- in order not to sully my tough, old broad reputation.

In 1983 I was a law student, who came home directly from class, with no time to "hang out"--boo hoo-- and cared for her ill father, until her mother, who worked herself to death as a waitress, came home from work to 'relieve me" so I could study. Two days before my father suffered his fatal stroke, I was preparing my father's supper when I heard him addressing our family companion animal--a dog 'officially" named General Douglas MacArthur--we called him Mac. (Mac was a high strung, highly intelligent, loyal, heavy drinking--that story is for another time--, Irish-English setter mix.) My father, after cleaning Mac's allergic eyes, as my father did every time he cleaned his own eyes of the saw dust from his work, with his hand gently placed upon the dog's head said in a low, sorrowful tone, not meant for me to hear: "Mac, the more I get to know people--the more I appreciate you....
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Travel-Guru on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was an amazing book and a must read for any animal lover. Everything about the book was done well. The characters, the storyline, the animals all draw you in and make it almost impossible for you to put the book down. Don't really want to give anything away, but just wanted to say- READ IT! I hope hope hope the author writes another book soon!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kate Taintor on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A brilliant story about the relationships of humans, humans and animals, and the unpredictable consequences of our actions. A myriad of emotions (grief, love, indifference, anger, denial, acceptance and so on) thread through the story-I laughed, cried and finally came to an understanding that in the end, love will continue on, if only through our sweet memories... "My ghost dog walks silently between my legs, hoping to trip me and acknowledge his silent presence. He wags his little tail and sneezes excitedly, as I whisper..."Darby, my little boy, I love you." -Read this book, if only to remember those who gave us so much love.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Old and Still Kicking on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you love animals and believe that they are more than just "household items", then this book is for you. Run, don't walk...to your nearest bookstore (better yet, download to your Kindle as it will be faster)to purchase this book. This is one emotionally charged book that will keep you glued to your chair to the very last page. I can't say enough positive about this book. Be prepared, however, to keep a box of tissues near you. This is one book you will not easily forget.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Areman on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Every living thing dies. There is no stopping it."

These words begin a complex and fascinating tale about the bonds between humans, animals, and those on both sides who have passed on. It follows the multiple viewpoints of the `ghost' Helena, a veterinarian who has passed away from breast cancer and now watches over the events that occur posthumous to her death. That's not to say we the reader don't hear her; she annotates every scene with her own dread, guilt, sadness, and memory of one who has long withheld difficult secrets and tragic deeds from others. But, much as one would expect, she is helpless in assisting her husband David downward spiral and her many friend's struggles as they attempt to reconcile her death with their careers and lives.

The key to this story is that it never leaves you untouched. The characters feel real, their pain intense and demanding. The dialogue is rarely stilted, and the writing style, while fairly simple, is also very easy to read and has a nice rhythm to it. Nothing pulls you out of the story, and the careful layering of character creation and bonding between reader and character are so subtle that you won't notice how attached you have become until the tears begin running down your cheeks.

Ironically, even though we see the novel from Helena's viewpoint, it was David who most fascinated me. He is the one left behind, and his difficulty in adapting to a widowed life is just heartrending. Despite what I felt at times was a preachy `most humans don't understand' ideology, Helena's descriptions of her husbands tendencies toward frustration and money (he is a corporate lawyer) are generally put aside for trust in her husband's ability to make it through.
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