Warner Books, 2005

Tayari Jones paints a vivid, unforgettable portrait of a woman seeking to overcome the trauma of her past.

When nine-year-old Ariadne Jackson loses her father and baby sister in an auto accident, her life in a black middle-class Atlanta neighborhood changes forever. Her eccentric mother grows more erratic, locking Aria and her surviving sister, Hermione, out of the house on Halloween or serving them raw chicken as a punishment for bad behavior. These little cruelties push Hermione to distance herself from the family, leaving Ariadne to fend for herself.

Years later, at 25, Aria believes she has surmounted the traumas of her youth, until she thinks she is pregnant but instead finds that she is infertile. Her life becomes layered with lies and half-truths as she fears she will lose the promise of family and a normal life. It is the untelling of these tales that leads her finally to accept the odd turns a life may take. Teens will appreciate Ariadne’s dilemma as she wrestles first with the implications of a child out-of-wedlock and then the more difficult truth that she will never bear her own children. They will also understand how she must unravel the untruths she has told, just as her namesake in Greek mythology unrolled a length of string to rescue her lover from a deadly maze.


“Jones went to the wilderness and mounted a wild and bucking story. THE UNTELLING is a mustang. Free. Bold. Classy. No sophomore jitters here. No timidity. Just a strong wind swirling the truth, hoping for love, daring the reader to inhale the forgiveness.”
— Nikki Giovanni, author of Spin a Soft Black Song
“Jones is a remarkable novelist, able to face down the tragedies of life with the clarity and beauty and even the dark humor of a true artist. And she has unerring storytelling instincts. THE UNTELLING is a wonderful book and Tayari Jones is a flat-out brilliant writer.”
– Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

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