Tell author Frances Itani review ´ 103


  • Hardcover
  • 288
  • Tell author Frances Itani
  • Frances Itani
  • English
  • 24 January 2018
  • 9781443406925

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Tell author Frances Itani

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Ight 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 Impeccably researched and so well written a continuation of the world Itani created for her award winning DEAFENING TELL follows the life of Grania's sister Tress and her husband Kenan who has just returned definitely not in one piece from the front lines of the First World War It's a slow moving novel in that much of it takes place after the action of the war and is about Kenan dealing with being home The idea that the homefront was as much as a battle as the battle itself was a reassuring theme throughout and watching as Kenan navigates his return to life was one of the best parts of this novelThe complementary story of Tress's aunt Maggie was no less effective her own struggles of middle age the issues that arise from an enduring marriage and how the undercurrents of tragedy will eventually boil up to the surface This is an utterly readable novel charming yet distilled and I found it to be the perfect companion on my commute

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She had long set aside As the decade draws to a close and the lives of these beautifully drawn characters become entwined each of them must decide what to share and what to hide and how their actions will lead them into the futureWith the narrative power and writerly grace for which she is celebrated Frances Itani has crafted a deeply moving emotionally rich story about the burdens of the past She shows us how ultimately the very secrets we bury to protect ourselves can also be the cause of our undoing Tell is stunning achievement g 35 review to follow

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The bestselling author of the award winning international sensation Deafening returns to the period following the First World War with a tour de force an extraordinary novel of secrets withheld and secrets revealedIn 1919 only months after the end of the Great War 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 uinte wandering outside only under the cover of n Frances Itani's recent novel Tell takes the reader back to the end of World War I and the last months of 1919 A young soldier wounded and just released from medical treatment in England comes home to his young wife and to the house he had never before seen from the inside How to return to a life of innocence and peace after what he has experienced Frances Itani delved into a theme that has not lost its power and relevance since then Many soldiers and their loved ones have suffered from what we now refer to as post traumatic stress disorder The story is set in the small town of Desoronto Ontario that had been at the centre at her award winning 2003 novel Deafening Since then Itani has gained recognition and praise for her ability to capture with great sensitivity an individual's psychological struggles to overcome physical and emotional scars and trauma Readers of the earlier novel will no doubt be familiar with both the place and uite a few of the protagonists When asked during an interview about her motivations for the new book Ms Itani explained that she was not entirely finished with minor characters from my earlier novel Deafening who had stories of their own to tell While Tell is a self contained novel that does not reuire the background of the earlier one I personally found that being aware of the other members of the close knit community and their backstories would most likely enrich the reading experience and understanding of the central characters in Tell The storyline evolves primarily around two couples Kenan and Tress and her aunt and uncle Maggie and Am Kenan the young soldier is deeply wounded in body and soul one side of his face his scarred; he has lost the use of one eye and one arm He has withdrawn from family and friends and for a time even refuses to leave the house Tress has anxiously awaited her husband's return and now needs all her patience to relate to Kenan and to support him as best she can Trying to understand Kenan's silence on the one hand and attempting to slowly and gently rebuild their intimate relationship places a heavy burden on the young woman She loves her husband deeply and had hoped that they could restart their lives and think of a family She thought she knew Kenan well But never having been much of a talker he holds his thoughts and emotions deeply buried in his mind Vivid memories of scenes in the trenches disrupt his sleep How can anybody understand what he continues to go through It seems his only contact with the outside world that he enjoys is the exchange of letters with one of his friends from the front The character of Kenan is finely drawn and his slow recovery feels totally authentic In time Kenan uietly leaves the house at night unbeknownst to Tress to wander through the woods away from the town He needs the solitude in nature Itani's account of these nightly wanderings is beautifully rendered You can literally take a deep sigh of relief with Kenan His right hand made a sign a word A finger to his lips and back to his chest Tell it seems to be saying but the word was directed at himself It was his private communication TellTress seems to be a competent and kind person but to me she seems stay in the background as a lesser developed character She needs help and seeks advice and solace in the company of her aunt Maggie who she has been close to since her childhood Maggie however has her own long buried scars that she cannot share and that has led to strains in her own marriage to Am Am does suffer from the silence in the home and feels drawn to Kenan Maybe the two men can help each other Itani captures the emotional struggles that Kenan and – for different reasons – Am go through with great empathy and sensitivity The silence between them slowly melts as Kenan increasingly regains his confidence in skating on the near by rink at night The enjoyment of the sport they both love relaxes them and helps them to open up to each other and the reader will finally learn about some of the long held secrets Desoronto's close knit community is shaken out of their passive acceptance of day to day reality by two outsiders the lively and energetic Zel who opens a boarding house in the woods nearby and the new choirmaster Lukas a refugee from Europe who may or may not stay in Desoronto Zel is like balm for Maggie's soul The two become close friends Under Lukas' guidance Maggie rediscovers her love for music and her talent for singing And as can be guessed music has additional healing powers that bring Maggie to a new realization of herself and her ambitions for her life Suffice to add that like all relationships that Itani develops in the novel the new friendship between Maggie and the two newcomers are handled with kindness and subtlety But their impacts not only on Maggie are long lasting Interestingly Frances Itani opens her novel with a short chapter that describes a scene set one year later than the rest of the novel It is intriguing as the reader wonders about the meaning the individuals involved etc I am not sure that this was the most successful way of tackling another major theme that interests the author in her novel that of abandonment and adoption of an infant The novel will not appeal to every reader Itani's writing is detailed and descriptive at times possibly a bit on the slow side The ending felt a bit rushed and unsatisfactory as the beginning and the end were tied together rather superficially


About the Author: Frances Itani

Frances Susan Itani is a Canadian fiction writer poet and essayistItani was born in Belleville Ontario and grew up in uebec She studied nursing in Montreal and North Carolina a profession which she taught and practised for eight years However after enrolling in a writing class taught by W O Mitchell she decided to change careersItani has published ten books ranging from fiction and po