TCL’s Shelf Control #10 – A Prescient Passover.


Shelf Control is a weekly celebration created by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies, of the unread books on our shelves. Lisa says: “Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.”

As of January 2023, Shelf Control moved and now Mallika @  Literary Potpourri is our hostess with the most-est. 

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

For my 10th entry… Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson.

Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson | Hachette UKFirst of all… I hope everyone had/is having a HAPPY PASSOVER to all who celebrate! I actually decided to look at this book because of the reference to this holiday on the blurb!

I vividly remember when we bought this book, not only because it has the stamp of Shakespeare & Co. on the inside cover. I remember that after finally getting inside the shop, (on our Paris trip, we went once and it was closed, once when there was an invitation only event, and then finally got there when it was open and free), my husband and I began wandering the shelves. We picked up one or two books and then at the till, one of the staff suggested this and another book (I forget which one) to my husband, and he picked this one to buy. This was a recently released novel back then (this was in 2017), set in 2022. Now, I’m not one to read futuristic books, but my husband never minded that – he was open to many genres and tropes that I either didn’t care for, or totally avoided like the plague. I believe that he did read it, but I don’t recall if he liked it or not. But, because it didn’t get donated when we moved house, I’m guessing that he either read it and liked it, or that he never got around to reading it. One way or another, recent purchases once again force me to make space for new books, and that’s what this meme is all about.

So, let’s look at the blurb on Amazon (which also appears on the back cover):

In 2022, American Jews face an increasingly unsafe and anti-Semitic landscape at home. Against this backdrop, the Jacobson family gathers for Passover in Los Angeles. But their immediate problems are more personal than political, with the three adult children, Mo, Edith, and Jacob, in various states of crisis, the result, each claims, of a lifetime of mistreatment by their father, Julian.

The siblings have begun to suspect that Julian is hastening their mother Roz’s demise, and years of resentment boil over as they debate whether to go through with the real reason for their reunion: an ill-considered plot to end their father’s iron rule for good. That is, if they can put their bickering, grudges, festering relationships, and distrust of one another aside long enough to act.

And God help them if their mother finds out . . .

Well, this does not sound good. I mean, okay, back when Levinson wrote this, we already were witnessing upticks in racially-motivated hate crimes, including onslaughts of antisemitic dog-whistles coming from one particular American political party, and their leader (which continue to this day, unfortunately). Then you read:

“Tell Me How This Ends Well” presents a blistering and prescient vision of the near future, turning the exploits of one very funny, very troubled family into a rare and compelling exploration of the state of America, and what it could become.

Oh, well… This is supposed to be a humorous novel? I mean, yes, I know about dark humor, and I can’t say that I haven’t laughed (or more like groaned) at it in my day, but this… I don’t know. Sounds more sad than funny to me, and a touch triggering for me personally (long story, not appropriate to write about here). But what about the opening paragraph, of the first chapter (titled “Thursday, April 14, 2022”)?

Los Angeles welcomed them with a dark, moody sky that broke open halfway through breakfast. The drizzle fell gently at first, then more profoundly, in sheets that ricocheted off the sidewalk, spotting the windows of the overcrowded IHOP on Sepulveda. Even at that late-morning hour, closing in on eleven, every table, booth, and countertop was occupied. Someone, probably the reedy, pimple-ridden shift manager, had set his iMuse to play every awful electro-punk-funk artist in his arsenal, an eternal, cacophonic loop of sinister screeches, the latest craze perpetuated on the teen-age masses by a currently dying (again) music industry. The songs, which were forced upon them from four floating speakers hovering in the corners of the room, blasted through the bacon-grease-filled air. Each one collided with the other and sounded exactly like, if not worse than, the next, each vying for a top spot in Jacob’s memory as the most craptacular and inappropriate accompaniment to breakfast, in this case pecan praline pancakes and Belgian waffles, which he and Dietrich were trying to consume while also struggling to carry on a conversation.

A whole lot to unpack here, right? First of all, the IHOP there is on W Manchester, at the corner of Sepulveda, but I guess that’s close enough. But, it makes me wonder why specify that typically LA-identifiable street if you’ve already said they’re in LA? Then, this whole business about the blasting and annoying music. Oh, heaven save me from authors who make up a future invention and name it like it already exists (it is now 2023 and there is no iMuse. But who needs that? We already had Siri available several years before this book was written)! Also, why put in all the detail about how bad the music is when the real hook is that this “he” and Dietrich were trying to talk? I’m afraid this opening is distracting and confusing, and doesn’t make me want to know who “he” is, nor does it make me interested in finding out what “he” and Dietrich are talking about.


My verdict is… 

NO this will NOT stay on my shelf!

Would you read this? Have you read this? If so, would you recommend it?

If this does interest you, you can find it via the following (affiliate) links: Amazon, Blackwell‘s,, UK.Bookshop, iTunes (iBook and iAudiobook), Indiebound, Alibris, Kobo (eBooks and audiobooks), Better World Books, Booksamillion, Foyles, The Book Depository (UK and US), Waterstones, WHSmith, and Wordery (UK and US).

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments to Lisa’s latest post, or link back from your own post, so Lisa can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

What about you?

What books do you have on your shelf that you haven’t read yet?

Happy Passover

6 thoughts on “TCL’s Shelf Control #10 – A Prescient Passover.

  1. Glad this helped you knock another one off your shelves. The blurb is a bit confusing–I mean why bring up the more serious themes in the atmosphere when the story is ultimately a more personal one with a different (dark humour) theme?

    Liked by 1 person

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