A new Deseronto novel from the internationally bestselling author of Tell and Deafening
At the end of Frances Itani’s Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist, Tell, a baby is adopted by a young Deseronto couple who are coming to terms with the end of the Great War. Eighteen years on, the baby, Hanora, now a young woman, is told about her adoption but given no details. As the Second World War looms, Hanora is determined to uncover the mysteries of her identity. This quest will take her across the ocean with her cousin Billie, and headlong into the tumult of Europe. Amid the tensions of World War II, the music and the great dance halls of the era beckon, and a career as a journalist becomes possible, even as her great love, Tobe, enlists in the infantry. But Hanora will not let the past lie, even though, decades later, the truth remains beyond her grasp. Billie, whose memory is fading as she slips into dementia, provides elusive clues, but it isn’t until Hanora discovers a set of diaries written by a late local artist that she begins to piece together the central issue of her own identity, hidden from her since birth.
Itani’s vivid storytelling, infused with music and seamless historical detail, reveals how memory, no matter how imperfect, can shape the person we believe ourselves to be.
About the author
Besides her two previous books of poetry (No Other Lodgings, Fiddlehead, 1978 and Rentee Bay, Quarry, 1983), Frances Itani has published a children's book and co-authored a book of short stories. More recently, Frances Itani, a Member of the Order of Canada, had a spectacular international debut with her first novel, Deafening, which received a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Canada and Caribbean Region) and was shortlisted for the 2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; it was a #1 bestseller in Canada. Her second novel, Remembering The Bones, was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Itani’s short story collection, Poached Egg On Toast, won the 2005 Ottawa Book Award and the 2005 CAA Jubilee Award for Short Stories. Itani lives in Ottawa.
“Tell is a treasure: serious with humorous moments, potent and controlled, subtle yet deeply moving.” — 2014 Scotiabank Prize Jury
“Masterful. . . . These characters are so vivid and well-drawn readers will celebrate their victories and cry alongside their anguish.” — Toronto Star
“This is a wonderful story, with a richly detailed sense of time and place, and compelling characters who, ultimately, all have secrets to tell.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“A heart-wrenching story of hope and sacrifice, of human error and unconventional healing, in which the characters must test the strength of their love for one another in order to break free from the shadows of the past.” — Chatelaine