The Telling | Granta

  • Published: 22/03/2012
  • ISBN: 9781846274664
  • Granta Books
  • 352 pages

The Telling

Jo Baker

When Rachel sets off alone for her mother’s isolated country house, she promises herself that the business of packing up and selling will only take a couple of weeks, and then she’ll be home again, and back to normal. But from the moment she steps through the front door, Rachel feels that the house contains more than she had expected: along with the memories of her mother, there is something else, a presence – not quite tangible – trying to make itself felt. As Rachel struggles to put her mother’s affairs in order, she grows ever more convinced that the house holds a message for her. Can the ghosts of the past be forcing their way into the present, or is Rachel really beginning to lose her mind?

The great strength of the novel is that you are equally concerned with both sets of characters, and their stories. Baker's spare, visual prose is a treat to read

Daily Mail

Baker's deft pacing pays spooky dividends

Time Out

A portrait of a heroine in search of her identity ... Baker handles it confidently


The Author

Jo Baker is the author of three previous novels, Offcomer,The Mermaid’s Child and The Telling (Portobello 2008).

More about the author →

From the Same Author

The Picture Book

Jo Baker

Set against the rolling backdrop of a century of British history from WWI to the ‘War on Terror’, this is an intimate family portrait captured in snapshots. First there is William, the factory lad who loses his life in Gallipoli, then his son Billy, a champion cyclist who survives the D-Day Landings on a military bicycle, followed by his crippled son Will who becomes an Oxford academic in the 1960s, and finally his daughter Billie, an artist in contemporary London. Just as the names – William, Billy, Will, Billie – echo down through the family, so too the legacy of choices made, chances lost, and secrets kept.

Rich in drama and sensuous in detail, The Picture Book is a beautifully crafted story about parents and children, about fate and repetition, and about the possibility of breaking free.