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Pub Date 28 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2024

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Description

Tell is a probing, exuberant and complex examination of the ways in which we make stories of our lives and of other people’s. Structured as a series of interview transcripts with a woman who worked as a gardener for a wealthy businessman and art collector who has disappeared, and may or may not have committed suicide, it is a thrilling novel of strange, intoxicating immediacy, and the co-winner of the 2022 Novel Prize.

Tell is a probing, exuberant and complex examination of the ways in which we make stories of our lives and of other people’s. Structured as a series of interview transcripts with a woman who worked...


Advance Praise

‘Buckley’s fiction is subtle and fastidiously low-key ... every apparently loose thread, when tugged, reveals itself to be woven into the themes [and] gets better the more you allow it to settle in your mind.'
— Michel Faber, Guardian

‘Few writers manage to conjure such raw unease as Jonathan Buckley ... completely compelling.’
— Adrian Turpin, Financial Times

‘Exactly why Buckley is not already revered and renowned as a novelist in the great European tradition remains a mystery that will perhaps only be addressed at that final godly hour when all the overlooked authors working in odd and antique modes will receive their just rewards.’
— Ian Sansom, Times Literary Supplement

‘Why isn’t Jonathan Buckley better known? His novel of love, death and melancholy comedy, The Great Concert of the Night, is captivating.’
— John Banville

‘Buckley’s fiction is subtle and fastidiously low-key ... every apparently loose thread, when tugged, reveals itself to be woven into the themes [and] gets better the more you allow it to settle in...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781804270721
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)
PAGES 208

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Average rating from 13 members


Featured Reviews

This was really interesting, and now what I was really expecting. The thematic work was engaging to say the least.

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Tell is comprised entirely of a series of one-sided interview transcripts, with a woman who worked as a gardener for a wealthy businessman. As the woman tries to make sense of her employer, and of what happened to him, the reader begins to build up their own picture of Curtis and the people in his life.

I couldn't resist the premise of a book comprised of interview transcripts, and this one didn't disappoint. Tell is a story about telling stories, with a plot that drives the book but that also revolves around the theme of its title. We don't know what questions the narrator is asked, and we only have a vague idea of who is interviewing her and why. And we never get to hear anyone else's side of the story. Tell takes the idea of the unreliable narrator - a trope I love - somewhere new, with its musings on the unreliability of memory, and the way people see the same things differently. This was one of those books where I found myself rereading certain phrases and lines, because the author just captures something so perfectly. And yet, I was also fully immersed in the fictional world of the author creates, almost able to see and hear the narrator thanks to the beautifully crafted writing style.

I love a metaliterary book, and Tell is one of my new favourites. Although this one doesn't pretend to be a true story, the characters and settings in this book are so realistic that I could easily believe it is all based on the truth. Tell didn't quite have that extra wow-factor that makes me want to give a book those elusive five stars, but this is a really interesting, engaging, and smart read. I want to reread it already.

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Tell is made up entirely of one-sided interview transcripts with a lady who worked as a gardener for a wealthy businessman. As the woman tries to understand her boss and what happened to him, the reader begins to form their own impression of Curtis and the people in his life.

I couldn't resist the idea of a book made mostly of interview transcripts, and this one didn't let me down. Tell is a story about storytelling, featuring a plot that propels the book but also revolves around the title's topic. We don't know what questions are being asked of the narrator, and we only have a hazy picture of who is interrogating her and why. And we never get to hear anyone else's perspective. Tell takes the idea of the untrustworthy narrator - a theme I adore - to new heights, with its reflections on the inaccuracy of memory and how different individuals see the same things. This was one of those books where I found myself rereading particular words and sections because the author brilliantly captured something. And yet, I was completely absorbed in the author's imagined universe, nearly seeing and hearing the narrator thanks to the masterfully written writing style.

Tell is one of my new favorites in the metaliterary genre. Although this book does not claim to be based on true events, the characters and locations are so lifelike that I could easily think it is. Tell lacked that extra wow-factor that makes me want to give a book five stars, but it is a wonderfully intriguing, entertaining, and clever read. I already want to reread it.

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Felt like I was immersed in a women's mind, reflecting on her insights of other's stories.

How this male author sees life through her eyes & captures her feelings was amazing. Shows how other's can tell stories of others lifes.

Definitely recommend.

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Framed as a series of interviews in which a gardener narrates the story of the wealthy man she once worked for, Tell is a novel which blurs the lines between object and subject; a tale which asks what it means to be both at the centre of a story and stood watching at the periphery: observing, second-guessing, and recounting an ambiguous version of the truth.

Told mostly in one, relentless stream (albeit broken up with the occasional note from the unnamed interviewer, that the speaker has made a [pause] or said something [indistinct]), Buckley's prose feels so true to life, his ability to embody the voice of his protagonist so vivid and realistic and well-pitched, that half-way through reading I found myself googling the name of the businessman being described, to double-check if this really was a piece of fiction. The transcript form chosen by Buckley added a sinister sense of something clinical and professional - as if the interviewee was telling their story to a detective or an investigative journalist - but the strength of the novel's voice and depth of its characters made me feel immersed throughout, almost as if I was in the room myself.

This was a delightful read - thank you to NetGalley and Fitzcarraldo Editions for the ARC of this book!

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This felt so real at points I was convinced it was non-fiction! I love the format and it kept me interested throughout.
This was a very enjoyable read!

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