The Unravelling

Incest and the Destruction of a Family

La description

In 1992, Besel family members discovered that their father, Jock Besel, had molested their youngest sister. As more survivors came forward, the family realized that their father had sexually assaulted four of the six sisters in a family of eleven children. The Unravelling is a brave, riveting telling of the destruction caused by sexual assault, and the physical, psychological, emotional, financial, and legal tolls survivors often shoulder.


  • Winner, PubWest Design Awards - Jacket Cover Design, Small Format 2021
  • Winner, PubWest Design Awards - Adult Trade Book, Non-Illustrated 2021


Winner, 2021 PubWest Design Awards - Adult Trade Book, Non-Illustrated
Winner, 2021 PubWest Design Awards - Adult Trade Book, Non-Illustrated
"A searing memoir." —Winnipeg Free Press
"A shattering story and an essential one, told with consummate honesty and courage.” —Joan Thomas, author of Five Wives
"Donna Besel’s battle for acknowledgment of the evils that infected her childhood is illumined in The Unravelling by the sheer strength of her lucid, straightforward, voice. Besel carries us along an eye-opening journey, one of healing and remarkable endurance." —Harriet Richards, author of Waiting for the Piano Tuner to Die  
“Donna Besel is one of the bravest and most honest writers I know. The high quality of her prose provides the reader with safe entry to what is a harrowing but essential read. We owe her much gratitude for having the courage to write it.” —Gerard Beirne, author of In a Time of Drought and Hunger
“In The Unravelling, Donna Besel tells an important story with an unsentimental, fearless voice, of a family riven as much by the original crime as by the slow-turning wheels of justice.” —Denise Chong, author of The Concubine’s Children
“This is an astonishing, dramatic, and very brave memoir.” —Catherine Hunter, Department of English, University of Winnipeg
“With courage and conviction, Donna Besel details the crushing personal, familial, and social effects of justice denied when she and some of her siblings decide, as adults, to confront and expose their father as an abuser. Both conscientious record and cris de coeur, The Unravelling speaks powerfully for all victims of sexual abuse. In its honest acknowledgement of pain, it also offers pathways to healing and hope.” —Susan Olding, author of Big Reader