Unsaid: A Novel

( 103 )

Overview

In this explosive debut novel, Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.
As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena lingers, a ...

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Unsaid

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Overview

In this explosive debut novel, Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.
As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena lingers, a silent observer haunted by the life she left behind-her shattered attorney husband, David; her houseful of damaged but beloved animals; and her final project, Cindy, a chimpanzee trained to use sign language who may be able to unlock the mysteries of animal communication and consciousness.
When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, David must call upon everything he has learned from Helena to save her. In the explosive courtroom drama that follows, all the threads of Helena's life entwine and tear as Helena and David confront their mistakes, grief, and loss and discover what it really means to be human.

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Editorial Reviews

Parade Magazine
Rarely has a novel captured so movingly the deep bonds between people and the animals that share their lives. Veterinarian Helena Colden has died of breast cancer, but she still watches over her shattered attorney husband and their menagerie-dogs, cats, horses, and a pig, all with personalities as distinct as their human companions. Helena, who narrates, remains guilt-ridden over the unresolved fate of a research chimp that communicates at the level of a 4-year-old child. How each of these vivid characters finds a way to let go and move on is at the heart of this entrancing tale.
Ellen Burns
UNSAID is a poignant, heart-felt story of love, loss and forgiveness.... UNSAID will make you cry, but, more important, it will make you contemplate the human relationship to animals, both domestic and wild. A wonderful book for animal lovers, those who like a good courtroom drama, and anyone interested in human/animal communication.
FreshFiction.com
This is a story about love, healing, and, even more compellingly, animal rights. The work that Helena and Jaycee did with Charlie and Cindy (both chimpanzees) make for utterly compelling stories that drive this story and weave all of these characters together in an unexpected way.
Psychology Today
"UNSAID carries the reader through a maze of knowing and denial interwoven into the master narrative of science...an unrelenting story of the times-a pivotal moment of recognition and atonement...."
G.A. Bradshaw
"UNSAID says it all in a lyrical story about humanity's journey from betrayal to reconciliation with our animal kin. A beautiful, wrenching testimony."
George K. Russell
"Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, a novel of animal slaughter and the men who perform it, exerted a powerful influence on a much earlier generation. May I hope that Neil Abramson's novel, UNSAID, will have a similar effect on present day readers and help us understand that animals need us as much as we need them. A riveting tale!"
Susan J. Armstrong
"A remarkable book, uncanny in that its narrator is recently deceased, but vivid in its development of believable and complex characters, both human and nonhuman. The author embeds in the story important aspects of current controversies over the extent of animal capacities as well as a keen sense of the value of animal lives."
Meredith Brokaw
"Neil Abramson has written a powerful and imaginative novel. His insights into the animal kingdom touched my heart. My book club will love it."
David Rosenfelt
"If you love legal dramas...or dogs...or terrific writing...or originality...or people...or discovering wonderful new writers, then Neil Abramson's UNSAID is a book you simply must read."
Carla Davis
"A compelling story of love, death, and ethics told with skill and sensitivity."
Marc Bekoff
"In this unique and moving novel, Neil Abramson shows just how strong our relationships with other animals can be, and how we can learn so much from our animal kin about their needs, their emotions, and respect, dignity, and love. I was continually moved as I read UNSAID and reflected on its important messages about just how important other animals are to us, and encourage you to read this intriguing book and share it widely."
Jeffrey Masson
"Enjoyed it thoroughly."
Temple Grandin
"UNSAID will really make you think about the relationship between people and animals. I was not able to put it down, and I read parts of it twice."
Garth Stein
"An extraordinary story of animals, mortality, and the power of love. Everyone needs to read this novel!"
Susan Wilson
"...a remarkable book."
Allen M. Schoen
"A suspenseful, heart-throbbing novel exploring the big questions of life, death, sentience, animal rights, compassion, righteous indignation, and what it is all about and why. The surprise twists are like an emotional roller coaster. Read it, weep, grab your chair, and gain insights into the big why!"
Gene Baur
"This moving and riveting novel beautifully expresses the transforming power of the human-animal relationship. Read it if you shared your life with an animal, but more importantly, read it if you haven't."
Irene M. Pepperberg
"A poignant read on the meaning of life and its priorities--how death and despair can lead to renewal and life, but only if one realizes the interconnectedness of all creatures."
Garth Stein
"An extraordinary story of animals, mortality, and the power of love. Everyone needs to read this novel!"
Temple Grandin
"UNSAID will really make you think about the relationship between people and animals. I was not able to put it down, and I read parts of it twice."
Jeffrey Masson
"Enjoyed it thoroughly."
Susan Wilson
"...a remarkable book."
Irene M. Pepperberg
"A poignant read on the meaning of life and its priorities--how death and despair can lead to renewal and life, but only if one realizes the interconnectedness of all creatures."
Gene Baur
"This moving and riveting novel beautifully expresses the transforming power of the human-animal relationship. Read it if you shared your life with an animal, but more importantly, read it if you haven't."
Allen M. Schoen
"A suspenseful, heart-throbbing novel exploring the big questions of life, death, sentience, animal rights, compassion, righteous indignation, and what it is all about and why. The surprise twists are like an emotional roller coaster. Read it, weep, grab your chair, and gain insights into the big why!"
Marc Bekoff
"Humans are pretty much a big-brained, self-centered, and arrogant lot, but when we allow ourselves to connect with other animals in deep and meaningful ways, they ground us and allow us to show who we really are--compassionate, empathetic, and caring beings. In this unique and moving novel, Neil Abramson shows just how strong our relationships with other animals can be, and how we can learn so much from our animal kin about their needs, their emotions, and respect, dignity, and love. I was continually moved as I read UNSAID and reflected on its important messages about just how important other animals are to us, and encourage you to read this intriguing book and share it widely."
Susan J. Armstrong
"A remarkable book, uncanny in that its narrator is recently deceased, but vivid in its development of believable and complex characters, both human and nonhuman. The author embeds in the story important aspects of current controversies over the extent of animal capacities as well as a keen sense of the value of animal lives
George K. Russell
"Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, a novel of animal slaughter and the men who perform it, exerted a powerful influence on a much earlier generation. May I hope that Neil Abramson's novel, UNSAID, will have a similar effect on present day readers and help us understand that animals need us as much as we need them. A riveting tale!"
G.A. Bradshaw
UNSAID says it all in a lyrical story about humanity's journey from betrayal to reconciliation with our animal kin. A beautiful, wrenching testimony."
Meredith Brokaw
"Neil Abramson has written a powerful and imaginative novel. His insights into the animal kingdom touched my heart. My book club will love it."
Carla Davis
"A compelling story of love, death, and ethics told with skill and sensitivity."
David Rosenfelt
"If you love legal dramas...or dogs...or terrific writing...or originality...or people...or discovering wonderful new writers, then Neil Abramson's UNSAID is a book you simply must read."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599954097
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 139,042
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Abramson
Neil Abramson is a partner in a Manhattan law firm, and his wife is a veterinarian. Abramson is also a past board member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal work on behalf of animals, a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals, and once represented a dolphin named Kama as a plaintiff in federal court.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 103 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(62)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 103 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2011

    A very UNIQUE and COMPELLING first novel!!!--I can't wait for Neil Abramson's next book!!!!!

    A unique, compelling and fast moving story-- I thoroughly enjoyed it and read the book in two intense sittings!!! That being said I happen to be a complete realist and very cynical person as well. Consequently I realize that many like minded folks may be more than hesitant to read this book given its unorthodox and unique premise. That notwithstanding, I strongly encourage folks like me to give this compelling book a chance--it will only take one chapter to grab you!! I also give even the most hard hearted human fair warning that they ought to keep a tissue box handy because they will be using it --more than once!! The story is told from the viewpoint of Helena, a recently deceased veterinarian who has not 'crossed over'. Helena remains earthbound watching over her bereft lawyer husband David and the animals she so loved. Helena is seemingly haunted by actions she took as a young veterinarian and was unable to forgive herself in life. And in death she yearns to 'right the wrong'. The author's stated day job is a lawyer. However I was pleased that the legal thriller story line--although essential to the story, well thought out and engaging--was not the main story line. The other story lines that weave through the book are more unique, interesting and compelling than the courtroom drama. Those story lines clearly increased the book's relevance to a wider audience than "the legal thriller groupies'. In addition, I found the supporting characters to be well developed with independent story lines that are compelling and complement and fully support the main themes. Of all the supporting characters I found Clifford, an autistic child as relevant to the story as the two main characters. Something unique from most novels. Although it is quite evident that animal lovers will rally behind this unique and compelling novel and they alone will make this novel a best seller, I think this compelling novel is equally relevant to anyone who has lost someone they have deeply loved and have found or are finding it difficult to work their way through that grief. This book is filled with hope and contains some real practical advice for those who are experiencing deep loss or have experienced such loss at any time in their life. Given the unique premise, interesting characters, and the level of compelling insight into raw human emotion this book would be ideal for book groups. I think it would inspire fabulous discussion and besides its a fabulous read--even worth a second read! ! A unique and compelling book!! (yes i used those two words over and over very purposefully--because this beautiful novel is UNIQUE and COMPELLING!!!!!! (and I was educated by Jesuits who taught you never to use an exclamation point--but this book is just too unique and compelling--I just had to!!!)

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    BookHounds

    In a way, this book should have had the word atonement in the title since the story revolves around life, death and getting things right or merely getting things on the right path in order to resolve all those ethical questions that occur in everyone. Helena has just died from cancer and returns to her home and life as a veterinarian to check up on her husband, friends and animals. She finds her lawyer-husband David overwrought and not coping very well with the loss. Helena took in strays of all sorts, from horses to cats and anything in between, so David must cope with the misfit animals while trying to go back to his high powered career. The story becomes a legal thriller as well as one of redemption when Jaycee, Helena's best friend and research partner, requests David's help in a legal issue.

    Helena is just an observer and narrates her life history and the current affairs in her loved ones lives in such a profound and beautiful way. Her love of all animals has been a driving force in her life and David never really understood it until he faces the animals he must now care for. The animals are portrayed so perfectly that they just jump off the page with life. There are many little twists and turns in David's healing process and through each step he finds help in unusual ways. He hires Sally, a vet tech who is out of work, to care for the menagerie and along with Sally comes her autistic son, Clifford who really adds another dimension to the book.

    The end of the book truly caught me off guard. I really wasn't expecting the book to end this way, but everything is nicely resolved (sorry, no spoilers here). Any animal lover will adore this book since it gets right to the heart of animal rights. Fans of Garth Stein and Temple Grandin will love this sweet and powerful story about the human-animal connection.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    LOVED it!

    i have never cried so much reading a book...from the first to the last page. a seriously heartwrenching book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    not your usual

    The author decided to tell a story not usual in telling - while this story is worth the time it takes to read I am not sure how long it will stay with you after. In my opinion, I would have liked more character depth of Clifford and his abilities; more character depth of Jimmy and his life; and more time spent with Skippy when it is his time to cross over the rainbow bridge. Instead of the seven year jump at the end of the book a longer writing so that we can experience some additional years with these characters. That being said, again this book was an enjoyable read and I would recommend to fellow animal/law lovers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Heartwrenching--Beautiful tribute to animals and our relationships with them.

    This story validated all the feelings and communications I have experienced with beloved pets and other living creatures. It is beautifully written. I found some of it hard to read because of my love for animals--I felt the pain and grief. When i first started reading I thought, "This is the perfect book for animal lovers. Halfway thru I thought. "I'm too soft hearted for this book" but I couldn't put it down. By the final paragraph i thought, "What a wonderful story and lesson to be learned". (I will never look at a veterinarian the same again~wow, what a weight of responsibility they carry.)

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Could NOT put it down !!!!

    I got to read this as a pre reader and absolutely loved it !!! I really enjoyed the multi layers of storylines attached to each character.

    Looking forward for the next work by Neil Abramson.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2012

    I would highly recommend this book, it was a great story and I look forward to another book from Neil Abramson.

    I thought this was a great book with several storylines going on that made every page interesting. I started reading this and never put it down until I was finished. It had a little bit of everything in it. Great read!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Highly recommended

    If you are an animal person, you will love this book. The author treats animals fairly. If you are a fan of books like
    "All Thing Bright and Beautiful," you will love this book.

    The heroine is a vet. She is deceased, but because of her love for her husband and her animal, her spirit lives on the tell the story. She is trying to find a way to help her husband cope and so in lies the story line.

    You will laugh and cry. You will want to throw the book across the room. Mostly, you will want to read all of it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    More Than Just a Novel.

    Unsaid by Neil Abramson is more than just a novel. It is a character study of the human condition. It examines how life, lives and loss can impact that condition and how ulitmately it can lead us to a place of true healing. On so many levels it is a book for every home.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    This book deserves more than five stars!

    I had a chance to preview the first two chapters of this book after reading a review online. Neil Abramson draws you in from the very first chapter. He has a wonderful way with words and even though there were several subplots within the story, he kept it fluid and non-confusing. His prose is beyond reproach.

    The book is narrated by a woman and I completely forgot that a man wrote this story - as a matter of fact, I told my friends that 'she' (the author) wrote so well :) Although I was anxious to find out how the story ends, I was kind of sad that it was over.

    I highly recommend this book and look forward to more books by the author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    unique and brillian

    Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite

    This is a review of the audiobook "Unsaid" by Neil Abramson, read by Angela Brazil. Like most veterinarians, Helena had euthanized animals to ease their suffering. When she felt an animal still had a quality of life and a future, she brought it home with her. Helena was a woman of great compassion. At only 37 years of age her life ended.

    Helena found it difficult to move on. She wasn't sure why but she could not allow herself to completely leave this realm.

    David, Helena's husband, is devastated at his loss. He continues to live in the house he shared with his beloved wife and all of her many animals. However, he was just going through the motions. He finds reason to go on when he takes on Cindy's case.

    This story is narrated by Helena, after her death. She watches as her husband struggles to come to terms with living without her. She thinks back on how they met and ponders the memories of their life together.

    Before starting this book, grab a cup of hot tea and a box of tissues. More than once I found myself so caught up in the emotions expressed in this book that tears were running down my cheeks. I found the author's method of telling this story unique and brilliant. The characters have been superbly drawn. There is an important message in this book with respect to animal rights.

    I enjoyed this book. The voice of Angela Brazil is perfect. She gave Helena substance. There are a few scenes that may be too violent for animal lovers. I expect this book to hit the best seller list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    If you only have time for one book...make it this one!

    The underlying theme of this story is communication however I have no words for this book....it is beautiful and magical and breathtaking. I hope everyone is lucky enough to get their hands on a copy of Unsaid...enough said.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Must read for any sentinent being

    Didnt really know what the book was about, something to do with human animal bond. Wont give any more details, except read this book, i laughed, i cried and i learned. What more can you want from a book?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    I give it a 5. It was extremely moving and very emotional.

    I give it a 5. It was extremely moving and very emotional.

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  • Posted February 5, 2014

    Once I started this book I could not put it down. A must for any

    Once I started this book I could not put it down. A must for any animal lover, and maybe even those who don't really care or like animals. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    couldn't quite get into it

    though the cover looked adorable I couldnt quite get into the premise

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    Awesome read.

    Awesome read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    Loved it

    Wonderful and meaningful story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    Great book. Easy to read. I loved it.

    Great book. Easy to read. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I loved this book on so many levels. Am giving it to a friend wi

    I loved this book on so many levels. Am giving it to a friend with a special needs child who is non verbal fro, birth and has difficulty signing because of hand malformations. At least she will not have the same outcome. Dealing with the Special Needs Chair and inadequate school system bad enough. The school "professionals" have no idea how to use the computer to enhance this young girl's communication and widen her world to others beyond her family and close friends. There is hope.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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