Tell Me What I Am: A Novel (Hardcover)
Two women wrenched apart by a family member’s disappearance must find a way back to each other in this haunting page-turner by the author of A Crooked Tree.
Nessa Garvey’s sister Deena vanished without a trace in Philadelphia in 2004. In all that time, Nessa has never once doubted what her instincts told her: her sister’s ex-husband has gotten away with an unspeakable crime.
Nessa’s niece, Ruby, is raised by her father, the man Nessa suspects, in rural Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Ruby learns how to hunt, how the plants and trees grow, how to avoid making her father angry. The one question she longs to ask is the one she knows she cannot voice: What really happened to her mother?
Over fourteen years, four hundred miles apart, these two women slowly begin to unearth the family history of insidious power and control that has shaped them both in such different ways. But can they reach each other in time?
Tell Me What I Am is a riveting, indelible tour de force of buried secrets and unlikely resilience.
About the Author
Una Mannion was born in Philadelphia and now lives in County Sligo, Ireland. She is the author of the novel A Crooked Tree.
"Quietly powerful. . . . A compelling portrait of a fractured family and a sister’s never-ending search for justice." — New York Times
"Sharp, poignant, thrilling and moving . . . . Tell Me What I Am is the kind of richly drawn, achingly atmospheric crime novel you can totally immerse yourself in.” — Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End
“Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion is very VERY good. About the impact on her family when a woman disappears, it's vividly real. The writing is beautiful, the emotions are conveyed exquisitely. There's love here as well as pain.” — Marian Keyes, New York Times bestselling author of Sushi for Beginners and Grown Ups
"I tore through this book with my heart in my throat, desperate to know what happens, but also not wanting it to end. It's the perfect combination of really good writing, a propulsive plot, and fully realized characters. I'll read anything Una Mannion writes." — Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes and The Half Moon
“This beautiful, haunting novel beats with the heart of a thriller, but is so much more. Una Mannion is a writer of extraordinary talent, compassion and power.” — Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses
"In this outstanding mystery . . . . Mannion expertly intertwines Nessa and Ruby’s stories via visceral, close-third-person narration that alternates perspectives, and weaves through time to build tension and dole out reveals. Her subtly shaded characters add nuance and poignancy. This artful slow burn should earn Mannion new fans." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
". . . a cleverly paced, slow burning psychological thriller steeped in family secrets . . . . Mannion’s use of language is spare and unembellished, adding a seamless fit to the dark tenor of the story . . . . A deep-probing, layered story undulating through the shadows of domestic violence, Tell Me What I Am is a finely wrought psychological thriller that will intrigue the discerning reader . . . . It will surely provide a lively topic for book club discussion." — The New York Journal of Books
“Mannion creates an emotionally charged yet gently paced thriller that evokes the doubt and anguish that arise after uncertain loss. . . . Through a relentlessly tempestuous coming-of-age journey, Ruby emerges as a strong, capable young adult." — Booklist (starred review)
“The novel's great strength lies in its arresting portrait of adolescence . . . . Socially conscious . . . . Between Nessa's rage and the novel's repeated references to troubled, abusive men — from Boko Haram to Dick Cheney to the murderers of Medusa, Tell Me What I Am demands an answer about a state-of-mind as well as an identity." — Minneapolis Star Tribune