Tell Me How You Really Feel

By Claire Hopple

Uncle Errol throws a funeral for himself. Bootsie spies on her own husband. Joe's band dresses in costumes and plays instruments from elementary school music class. Marco is tired of people shouting “Polo!” over his shoulder. Mallory unlocks the doors between hotel suites in case the person beside her is also searching and alone. Denise eats crayons and goes missing. Gary tries to legally change his name to get back at his sworn enemy. Tell Me How You Really Feel is the only novella set in the municipality of Murrysville, Pennsylvania.


RELEASE DATE: September 30 2020

“In Tell Me How You Really Feel, Hopple conjures her ensemble cast of captivating oddballs through subtle yet electric sentences that read so easy it’s as if she simply rolled tape on characters who existed long before she brought them to life and who continue to exist after she calls it a wrap. It seems a magic trick, but it’s a true feat—not messing with the destinies of these good, flawed people, having the patience and empathy to allow them their nemesis and failed heroics, their heartbreak and their humor. Tell Me How You Really Feel is flash fiction at its most charming and magnetic."

-Kara Vernor, author of Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song

Like the old saying, "You’re born alone and you die alone," the characters in Claire Hopple’s peculiar and very funny Tell Me How You Really Feel are befuddled by most people, dooming them to a life of awkward, sometimes surly, individualism. The concerns of Hopple’s lifelike characters thread through each other, creating a cinematic tapestry evocative of a great Robert Altman movie. Combine that with Hopple’s sharp delivery and acute sense of details and Tell Me How You Really Feel becomes a small miracle.

-Kevin Sampsell

"Everything I want to say about Claire Hopple's writing pales in comparison to the writing itself. In her third book of fiction, she effectively reinvents the rules for short story writing for the third time. In Hopple's hands, this is a climax: The dog whimper of the door hinge and it was done. This is a description of emotion: corn-shucked and echoey. This is dialogue: "A Megabus driver is greater than a regular bus driver. It’s simple math." This is metafiction, humor, and character development: The cymbals were maybe supposed to be symbols, she would think later. And this is all from the same page. There are 45 more in TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. What are you waiting for?"

-Tyler Barton


Claire Hopple

About the author

Claire Hopple is the author of two story collections and one novella. Her fiction has appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, New World Writing, Timber, and others. She lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina. She's just a steel town girl on a Saturday night. More at

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