Set in 1968 in the Parisian suburbs, No Telling is narrated by twelve-year-old Gilles as he approaches his Solemn Communion, puberty, and some sense of the chaos around him. His home is deeply dysfunctional: a dithering mother, a hard-drinking, womanising uncle who becomes his stepfather, and an older sister, Carole - an unbalanced revolutionary who hasn't danced her ballet steps since the death of their real father. Gilles is blithely unaware that any of this is out of the ordinary, as he and his friend Christophe try and piece together a world from fragments of rumour and hushed adult conversation. There is a deeper trauma here, however, far more shocking than anything Gilles could have dreamt of - a mystery it will take the events of the novel and eight years to resolve.
Meticulously observed...a riveting tour de force... Impossible to put down
A wonderful, clear-eyed portrayal of a child's bewildered negotiations with the adult world, shot through with evocative details... No Telling is beautifully written, extremely moving...not merely readable, but gripping
An extraordinarily beautiful and moving novel, the best yet from one of the finest and most underrated writers working in English today
Wonderful...the imaginative tour-de-force Thorpe achieves with No Telling confirms his status as an A-Team novelist
It is beautifully done. Thorpe perfectly captures the inconsequential nature of adolescence...powerful reading