The Untelling, a haunting and at just the right times humorous second novel by Tayari Jones (author of the simultaneously celebratory and mournful Leaving Atlanta), sets as its central tension a tremendous fib. Or is what's at the core of the trouble recorded here a terrible accident? Or sweet but worrying love? Or a floundering mother? Or the lopsided affections of friendship and sisterhood? Or a neighborhood tottering between squalor, hominess, and detached gentrification? Or...,or..., or.... One of the many things Jones does well in this novel is route us through the tangled courses that are the complicated reality of a fully lived life. To reduce the root of the main character's trouble to the catastrophe of her youth or to the catastrophe that grips her body and her relationship in the time in which the novel is set would be too easy. And Jones has no intention of letting anybody off the hook.
I have become a big fan of Tayari Jones this year. She is spot on in her descriptions, and the prose flows. She says a great deal in a short period of time, and her characters are familiar yet always a bit surprising.
A story of the way people can change their lives.