Monday, December 29
Book Review: Tell
Author: France Itani
Pages: EBook 234
Summary: In 1919, only months after the end of World War One, the men and women of Deseronto struggle to recover from wounds of the past, both visible and hidden. Kenan, a young soldier who has returned from the war damaged and disfigured, confines himself to his small house on the Bay of Quinte, wandering outside only under the cover of night. His wife, Tress, attempting to adjust to the trauma that overwhelms her husband and which has changed their marriage, seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. Maggie, along with her husband, Am, who cares for the town clock tower, have their own sorrows, which lie unacknowledged between them. Maggie finds joy in her friendship with a local widow and in the Choral Society started by Lukas, a Music Director who has moved to the town from an unknown place in war-torn Europe. While rehearsing and performing, Maggie rediscovers a part of herself that she had long set aside.
As the decade draws to a close and the lives of these beautifully-drawn characters become more entwined, each of them must decide what to share and what to hide, and how their actions will lead them into the future.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed some aspects of the book, especially the focus on those returning from the war. While I like some aspects of the book, I disliked others. The writing was also well done, and pulled me in from the start, even in the parts of the book I didn't exactly like, or when I didn't like the direction the story went in, I still loved the style of writing. It had great flow and was the kind of writing that pulls you in from the first page.
I think the author captured that aspect beautifully. The psychological and inner turmoil she showed her characters was wonderfully well done, and helped set a good tone for the book. I also liked how she examined the other characters through their reactions and struggles of having loved ones return from the war. Most of the characters were also well done, I liked Kenan the best, but I found that one of my biggest issues with the book was also the characters, especially Maggie. For the most part, I didn't like Maggie's part in the story, while pieces of it worked, I found her story and her development took away from other aspects of the book I found stood out more.
I also didn't like the ending much at all. In fact, I found it ruined the rest of the book for me. Maggie's character bothered me throughout the book, but by the end I despised her. I also felt that the ending of the book, along with Maggie's journey, didn't mesh well with the rest of the story.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, while I didn't like how it ended, the rest of the story was well done, and well worth reading.
What to read next: More books by the author, other Giller 2014 Shortlisted books.
Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge
Note: This is part of my October Reviews