Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In this heartfelt though predictable debut, Abramson explores the interconnecting relationships between animals and people, as well as the sensitive topic of scientific animal testing. Though wearying at times with endless narrative on compassion for all living beings, the novel is still touching and emotional. Thirty-seven-year-old lawyer David Colden is reeling from the death of his veterinarian wife, Helena, when he is approached by one of her colleagues, Jaycee, who worked with Helena teaching Cindy, a chimpanzee, to use American Sign Language. The funding for the chimpanzee project is about to come to a halt, and Jaycee initially wants David to obtain a court order so Cindy isn't used in scientific experiments. David refuses at first, too distraught over his loss and taking care of all Helena's pets: three dogs, six cats, horses, and a pig. But when Jaycee breaks into the government institution to 'save' Cindy and is arrested, David agrees to represent her in court. Helena narrates from the afterlife and is an important presence in the courtroom during Jaycee's trial. Sudden life-changing events teach David love and acceptance, and while emotion often trumps plot, the focus on animal rights (Abramson is a lawyer who has been recognized by the ASPCA for his legal work) will resonate with animal lovers. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Unsaid is told from the perspective of Helena Colden, a veterinarian who has just died of breast cancer. Helena is forced to witness the rapid emotional deterioration of her husband David. With Helena's passing, David, a successful Manhattan attorney, loses the only connection that made his life full. He tries to carry on the life that Helena had created for them, but he is too grief-stricken, too angry, and too quickly reabsorbed into the demands of his career. Helena's animals likewise struggle with the loss of their understanding and compassionate human companion. Because of Helena, David becomes involved in a court case to save the life of a chimpanzee that may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of animals consciousness. Through this case all the threads of Helena's life entwine and explode - unexpectedly, painfully, beautifully.
As a veterinarian, Helena had mercifully escorted thousands of animals to the other side. Now, having died herself, she finds that it is not so easy to move on. She is terrified that her 37 years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena haunts-- and is haunted by-- the life she left behind. Meanwhile, David, her shattered attorney husband, struggles with grief and the demands of caring for her houseful of damaged and beloved animals. But it is her absence from her last project, Cindy-- a chimpanzee who may unlock the mystery of communication and consciousness-- that will have the greatest impact on all of them.
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 the only way to save Cindy is to understand what it really means to be human.
About the Author
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, and a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals.