Deaf since she was five years old, Grania has learned that watching is not always enough to survive in the world of the hearing. She has learned that words can often be impossible to see, their shape disappearing into a place where she cannot decipher their skittery ways. Sent to the Ontario School for the Deaf in Belleville, Grania must learn to live away from her loving family, lonely for the company of her sister and the secret language they shared. When Grania falls in love with Jim, a young hearing man from the east coast, her life seems complete, but the First World War soon tears them apart and sweeps him into the worst of experiences—trench warfare. At the Western Front, Jim is tested to his limit as he and his buddy Irish—both stretcher bearers—retrieve the shattered bodies of their comrades.
Fueled by tremendous word-of-mouth excitement at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Deafening has already become an international publishing phenomenon, with rights sold in over 12 countries so far. Author Frances Itani, the source of this unprecedented attention for a debut novel, has steadily been gaining a stellar reputation for her short fiction collections, her most recent, Leaning, Leaning Over Water, receiving ecstatic reviews. Touted as “writer to watch,” Itani has lived up to her accolades with Deafening.
Her depiction of a world where sound exists only in the margins is a singular feat in literary fiction, a place difficult to leave and even harder to forget. Elegantly written, with grace and precision, Deafening is, above all, a deeply moving journey through the strands of strength and vulnerability that weave heart and spirit together.
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In Deafening, Canadian writer Frances Itani's American debut novel, she tells two parallel stories: a man's story of war and a woman's story of waiting for him and of what it is to be deaf. Grania O'Neill is left with no hearing after having scarlet fever when she is five. She is taught at home until she is nine and then sent to the Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, where lifelong friendships are forged, her career as a nurse is chosen, and she meets Jim Lloyd, a hearing man, with whom she falls in love.
The novel is filled with sounds and their absence, with an understanding of and insistence on the power of language, and with the necessity of telling and re-telling our stories. When Grania is a little girl at home, she sits with her grandmother, who teaches her: "Grania is intimately aware of Mamo's lips--soft and careful but never slowed. She studies the word as it falls. She says 'C' and shore, over and over again... This is how it sounds." After she and Jim are married and he is sent to war, he writes: "At times the ground shudders beneath our boots. The air vibrates. Sometimes there is a whistling noise before an explosion. And then, all is silent." When Grania's brother-in-law, her childhood friend, Kenan, returns from war seriously injured, he will not utter a sound. Grania approaches him carefully, starting with a word from their childhood--"poom"--and moves through "the drills she thought she'd forgotten... Kenan made sounds. In three weeks he was rhyming nonsense syllables."
A deaf woman teaching a hearing man to make sounds again is only one of the wonders in this book. Because Itani's command of her material is complete, the story is saved from being another classic wartime romance--a sad tale of lovers separated. It is a testament to the belief that language is stronger than separation, fear, illness, trauma and even death. Itani convinces us that it is what connects us, what makes us human. --Valerie RyanFrom the Publisher:
Deafening is being published around the world by the following publishers:
Brazil (Portuguese) - Editora Objetiva
Canada (English) - HarperCollins
Catalonia (Catalan) - Columna Edicions
France (French) - Editions JC Lattes
Germany (German) - Berlin Verlag
Greece (Greek) - Livani Publishing Organization
Holland (Dutch) - Arena
Italy (Italian) - Frassinelli/Sperling & Kupfer Editori
Japan (Japanese) - Shincho Sha
Portugal (Portuguese) - Dom Quixote
Spain (Spanish) - Ediciones Maeva
UK (English) - Hodder & Stoughton
US (English) - Grove/Atlantic
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Book Description Harper Collins 2003-09-01, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780002005395B
Book Description Phyllis Bruce Books, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0002005395
Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0002005395
Book Description Harper Collins, Toronto, 2003. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, first printing. Unread, perfect condition. Signed by the author on the title page. Signature only. Jacket protected by archival cover. "An artistic triumph." Kirkus Reviews. ".an affecting and evocative look at those who inhabited a soundless world during the early years of the last century. Grania, a deaf girl growing up in a small Ontario town, is a truly memorable character, and the story of her love for her young soldier husband is brilliantly recounted." Richard B. Wright. "Deafening is a remarkable and absorbing first novel.her strong characters will not leave you." Charles Frazier. Bookseller Inventory # 003651