THE TELL

The Tell

Available from HarperCollins, 2013

Mira and Owen’s marriage is less stable than they know when Wilton Deere, an aging, no longer famous TV star, moves in to the grand house next door. With plenty of money and plenty of time to kill, Wilton is charming but ruthless as he inserts himself into the couple’s life in a quest for distraction, friendship—and most urgently—a connection with the daughter he abandoned years earlier. Facing stresses at home and work, Mira begins to accompany Wilton to a casino and is drawn to the slot machines. Escapism soon turns to full-on addiction and a growing tangle of lies and shame that threatens her fraying marriage and home. Betrayed and confused, Owen turns to the elusive Anya, Wilton’s daughter, who is testing her own ability to trust her father after many years apart.

THE TELL is a finely wrought novel about risk: of dependence, of responsibility, of addiction, of trust, of violence. Told with equal parts suspense, sympathy, and psychological complexity, it shows us the intimate and shifting ways in which we reveal ourselves before we act, and what we assume but don’t know about the ones we love.


Praise for The Tell

“Hester Kaplan brings such fresh language and uncanny insight to whatever her keen eye lands upon, it’s as if she creates it anew. Everything, everyone, every inflection in The Tell is charged with precision, feeling, and consequence.”

Leah Hager Cohen

Author of The Grief of Others

“Hester Kaplan is a master of her craft, and in The Tell she uses her prodigious talent to put a marriage under her microscope. Every sentence of this book is breathtaking.”

Ann Hood

Author of The Knitting Circle

“The Tell is an engrossing novel, at once richly observed and tautly plotted. Wilton Deere is one of the most riveting and unsettling characters I’ve encountered in a long time. I read this hungrily, and with great pleasure.”

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

“Gorgeous and haunting, Kaplan’s riveting new novel about what we fight to hide, or ache to reveal about ourselves, grabs you by the throat and builds to a crescendo that’s pure Greek tragedy. It’s hard not to use the word genius.”

Caroline Leavitt

New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“A wise and clever novel, The Tell is a kind of anagrammatic homage to The Great Gatsby, updated for our own American time. The competing forces of true love and false idols are played out beautifully in the course of a roiling relationship with a larger-than-life neighbor. Kaplan is a sentence-maker of the highest order, and this is a wonderful book.”

Antonya Nelson

“…provocative, beautifully written and offers great discussion potential. In exploring the choices we make in our closest relationships, including the things we can’t tell each other, Kaplan (The Edge of Marriage) draws an unsettlingly intimate portrait of a marriage in crisis.”

Shelf Awareness

“Kaplan takes the fragments of broken lives and glues them back together, makes whole what is carelessly shattered in the brilliant style of an iconic American writer.”

Curled Up With a Good Book

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