Things Unsaid, a tale portraying family in all its emotional complexity, traces back three generations rooted in guilt, karma, obligation, duty and broken promises.

Jules, a former professor at Stanford, is sandwiched between competing obligations: to her husband Mike and daughter Zoë and to her dying parents. Jules and Mike have set aside a college fund to pay for Zoë’s tuition as she will be leaving for Stanford soon. But then her parents lose everything in the Great Recession of 2008 and she must choose between her daughter’s future and her dying parents.

Things Unsaid raises the following questions: Do you ever worry about helping your elderly parents with their expenses at the same time you want to help your own children? Are you uncomfortable having to choose between competing obligations? A tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years. Jules, her sister, and her brother share the same events yet experience them differently, defining themselves in terms of the family they think they know. Ever-shifting covenants between parents and children reveal mismatches that neither mend nor end. Think: “August: Osage County” meets Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant with a touch of Olive Kitteridge.

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“With a grace that is absorbing and deft, Paul tackles many difficult questions, including filial responsibility, depression, marital strife, and sexual identity. The author depicts heart-wrenching conundrums as the three siblings are forced repeatedly to evaluate their personal priorities. An engaging tale of family dysfunction and intractable senior citizens.”–Kirkus Reviews

  “Would you do everything humanly possible to maintain your parents’ comfort and lifestyle, even if that comes at the expense of your own family? Things Unsaid by Diana Paul is a powerful, emotional tale that takes the reader deep into the complex dynamics of a dysfunctional family, alternating between love and obligation. Paul expertly entwines the past and present while exploring Julia’s moral impasse between love and duty for her two families―the one she was born into and the one she has created as an adult.”―Ica Iova, Readers Favorite, 5-star review

“Things Unsaid is a powerfully written story that explores the moral dilemma of love, duty, and sacrifice for the family you are born into versus the family you create as an adult. Jules, the well-etched protagonist, seeks to find her way through the tangled tentacles of her mother’s narcissism, her father’s weakness, and her siblings’ secrets and selfishness. This tale of relationships grabs you on the first page and stays with you long after you’ve read the last words.”
–Matilda Butler, author of Rosie’s Daughters

  “At first blush it appears to be a classic dysfunctional-family novel. Yet Things Unsaid is written by a scholar of Buddhism. And so, under its skin, it is a lively, accessible meditation on redemption, and on the transformative value of good intention and deed.”–Rebecca Coffey, author of Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story

“A satisfying and provocative read, Things Unsaid is wisely contemplated, meticulously detailed, and powerfully and artfully rendered. A wonderful book, well worth your attention.”–Tom Parker, author of Small Business and Anna Ann Annie

  “A bold and poignant story that brings deep insights into the messy and complicated world of family relationships, and shows how one woman is able to survive them with her sanity and spirit intact.”–Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, author of Love in Translation and His Wife and Daughters

Bookclub Favorite
Winner of New Adult Fiction―Beverly Hills Book Awards
Winner of the SILVER Medal for Best Fiction in Drama from Readers’ Favorite
Finalist USA Best Books Awards in Literary Fiction and in New Fiction


Author visits with Diana Y. Paul are available via NovelNetwork.com.