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(Grania O’Neill #2)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  162 reviews
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 revealed.

In 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,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 18th 2014 by HarperCollins Canada (first published January 1st 2014)
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Maggiendp I would respectfully disagree - I read Tell without knowing a out Deafening and really enjoyed it.

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3.64  · 
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 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To sum up in one word -- BORING! Because this book was on a bunch of lists this year, I expected it to be pretty good. And kept expecting that it would improve as I got further along. Sadly, neither was the case. It started off slowly and more or less petered out. I really don't understand how it got any good press at all. The characters were dull, the story (such as it was) dragged on and on and got nowhere. When I was bogged down, I did check Goodreads to see if I was alone -- and with the men ...more
Friederike Knabe
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
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 w ...more
Steven Langdon
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super
Canada in 2014 has seen a large number of events marking the start of World War One, far too many of them in my view aimed at conveying pride in Canada's participation, despite the tens of thousands of our citizens killed and the many wounded in a war which settled little and led to even more devastating conflict just 21 years later. This fine novel by Frances Itani, "Tell," provides a much more appropriate perspective, probing beautifully the harsh impact of World War One on Canadian soldiers a ...more
Deanna McFadden
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rea
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: war, can-con, 2014
He relaxed, leaned against the boards of the old barn and closed his good eye. His right hand made a sign, a word. A finger to his lips and back to his chest. Tell, it seemed to be saying, but the word was directed at himself. It was his private communication: Tell.

It is November of 1919 when we first meet Kenan Oak: Armistice has been declared, and although the injured young man has been home from WWI for a year, he is just taking his first tentative steps towards healing, supported by his wif
Shirley Schwartz
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prize-winners
4 1/2 - This is a novel of strong characters, a remarkably rich and complex plot and lyrical and spare prose. The story is set in a small Ontario town on the shores of Lake Ontario near the end of 1919. The book centers around young Kenan who has recently returned from hospital in Europe where he was sent to recover from catastrophic wounds he received in the Great War. Kenan's adjustment to his life after the horrors he experienced at the front and while trying to come to grips with his new rea ...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 review to follow.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
What a lovely story. Quiet and unassuming and simply lovely.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved Deafening and this is just as wonderful.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, canada, library
Poignant novel about the devastating effect World War I had on the inhabitants of a small town in Canada right after the war, particularly in the lives of one couple: Tress and Kenan, who returned from the war shell-shocked with the loss of his left eye and his left arm and hand rendered useless. Because of the trauma and struggling to regain their love and acceptance, their marriage falls into a shadow of its former self. Little by little Kenan comes out of his shell, leaving home at night and ...more
Ted Dettweiler
I like small-town Ontario stories and I like history. This book lays out the life of Kenan, and those he is connected with, after the "World's Great Struggle". Kenan has returned to Deseronto, Ontario physically and emotionally damaged and disfigured to resume life there with his wife. A skating rink is built by the townspeople on Lake Ontario as soon as the cold sets in and the rink figures prominently in the story along with a clock tower in the center of town where Am, the keeper of the clock ...more
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-adult, 2015
I really didn't like this book all that much and I can't even really say why. I think maybe a lot of it just felt superficial to me - it skimmed the surface of what happens when we keep secrets, what happens when we go through traumatic events and don't deal with it. But most of what happens in this book could have happened for reasons outside of the keeping of secrets. I don't know. Why do (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
At the start of this novel I thought the pace was too slow and the plot too soft. Then I took a deep breathe, calmed down, and moved into small town Ontario 1919. So glad I did. The novel explored the emotional struggles of some very average people dealing with PTSD, marriage issues, grief, love and loneliness. The culture of the day encouraged reserve, dignity and always a respectable front. 'Telling' or sharing personal pain was not encouraged. And secrets were buried. The novel's characters w ...more
Tanya Wiles-bell
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love the richness of Itani's writing. Her attention to detail is delightful and conjures up wonderful images of a time gone by. Tell, set in the months following WWI, tells the story of two couples dealing with intense sorrow and loss. I especially enjoyed the various letters that are sprinkled throughout the story. It seems as if letter writing is quickly becoming a lost art and Itani reminds us that sometimes, when it comes to people we love and care about, a letter can give one somet ...more
Kristine Morris
Beautifully written. Love that it took place in Deseronto, a town west of Napanee. Very melancholy though. I was reluctant to read the last 30 pages because I knew they were going to be disheartening. I'm finding it harder with today's contemporary writing to read books that take place in the past. This book did not feel like 1920. Or maybe I just can't put myself there. It's hard to place yourself in a world that is less and less real.
Erin Kernohan
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
A quiet and gentle story about something that is neither quiet or gentle. Itani deftly weaves a story about two couples, each dealing with their own personal tragedies and the secrets which burden them. This novel will appeal especially to people who find themselves in genealogy libraries and pouring over old community newspapers and who will enjoy the detailed descriptions of post-WWI life in Ontario. 4/5
Tracy Canuck
Why does it take so many words to hardly say anything?

There was no story here.

The only character with a remotely interesting life was the soldier who'd recently returned from the battlefield but alas, his story went nowhere.

I mean, why write an entire book if you've got nothing to say?

Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was ok but a disappointing followup to Deafening. This book felt too clinical, the emotions flat and distant.

I had the sense that it was just wounded people hurting and wallowing in their sorrow. No satisfying resolution occurs.
Love reading about small town life in Canada. I was hesitant to read the book, because of the WWI connection, but hey, it's a Canadian author so no chest thumping.
Kathy Stinson
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally believable characters your heart breaks for. I loved them all and I love FI's writing and her ability to tell a good story. Great book.
Anne Marriott
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Francis Itani exploring the relationships between people.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
Cathy Austin
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story. Itani's style is fluid, almost poetic and definitely literary. Tell follows the story begun in Deafening featuring Grania, a deaf woman (and Tress' sister) set prior to the first World War in small town Deseronto.
This time it is 1919, the war is just over and men are returning home, some wounded, maimed, emotionally scarred all. Kenan has lost the use of an arm and one side of his face is scarred plus he has only use of one eye. Home for almost a year he cannot go out in daytime
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I didn't enjoy the first half but later found myself thinking what a good book it was. When I think back on the first half, I wouldn't say I disliked it, it just didn't draw me in until later.

There are two main story lines. One is about a returning WW1 soldier, Kenan, who is suffering from PTSD (they didn't call it that then) and his wife, Tress. Tress is trying to hold things together as her injured husband adjusts to life without the use of one arm and with considerable damage to his face. The
Wanda Donelle
I did not really enjoy this novel . It was my book club choice for this month and it’s taken me two weeks to finish. It was a timely choice given the recent November 11th Services of Remembrance throughout Canada & the world.

I had not read “Deafening” and was unaware of “Tell” being a continuation until I was 2/3 through. I could not developer a liking for the characters and found the storyline to be slow and choppy.

There were passages that I thought were beautifully written & very des
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the river and the memories of being outside at night in winter. Itani uses the sense of sound throughout the book to bring us into the scene. the general reticence of men to talk is used as the reason most of the women are in emotionally so needy in this story. Itani's love of detail was in a couple spots too much. As in Deafening, what I miss in this book as well is "what are her characters thinking?.. she shows us what they do and how they move about ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a skillfully written story of lives in post war, small town rural Ontario. A year of lives burdened with the weight of things suffered, great sorrows and tragic losses and horrors experienced and buried ~ in the ground, in memories of the past, in the dark places of the mind ~ stuffed, hidden needing to be expressed . . . but not willing or able to be shared. This is a story of what happens when we do not Tell and the silence builds walls that divide and the growing need to share our pain c ...more
Steven Buechler
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The narrative feels like many other classic stories about life in small towns but there is a bit of freshness to the plot. Itani gives us deep emotions like anguish, passion and fear like no other story I have encountered before. Readers sense the tranquility of the town and the order it has but readers are compelled to read on to find out why some of its occupants are truly unhappy and what they plan to do to regain some balance in their lives.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in Deseronto where this book is set, so I really wanted to like it. However I get the impression the author got caught up in describing the town and sacrificed the plot to do so. I'll give her points for vivid imagery but the absence of storytelling made this a hard slog to get through.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't really have a sense of where it was going. The setting and the time frame were interesting, but I felt it wrapped up quickly with no actual resolution (or motivation) for pretty much every plot point in the story.
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Frances Susan Itani is a Canadian fiction writer, poet and essayist.

Itani was born in Belleville, Ontario and grew up in Quebec. 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 careers.

Itani has published ten books, ranging from fiction and po

Other books in the series

Grania O’Neill (2 books)
  • Deafening