Author(s): Adam Thorpe
No Telling, Adam Thorpe's fifth novel, is set in 1968 in the Parisian suburbs and narrated by twelve-year-old Gilles as he approaches his First 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 in 1960. 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. Set against a backdrop of a turbulent France - as it lurches from rural piety, and a hundred years of terrible history, to a hurried modernity - Adam Thorpe has written a tour-de-force of compassion, humour and storytelling brilliance, seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy. Culminating in the Paris riots of May '68, No Telling is a thrilling and beautifully observed study of a boy's bewildered innocence and slowly dawning understanding in a world of open revolt and buried secrets.
Adam Thorpe's finest novel since Ulverton - and his most commercial
Adam Thorpe was born in Paris in 1956. His first novel, Ulverton, was published in 1992, and he has written three other novels - most recently Nineteen Twenty-One - a collection of stories and three books of poetry. He lives in France with his wife and three children.