Fiction Frances Itani Deafening

ISBN 13: 9780006392613

Deafening

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9780006392613: Deafening

ELEGANTLY WRITTEN and profoundly moving, Frances Itani’s debut novel is a tale of virtuosity and power. Set on the eve of the Great War, Deafening spans two continents and the lives of a young deaf woman and her beloved husband. Frances Itani’s astonishing 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. With the simultaneous publication of Poached Egg on Toast, Itani’s new short story collection, this is the perfect time for the trade paperback edition of Deafening.

PREVIOUS EDITION: 0-00-200539-5

PRAISE FOR DEAFENING
“Itani has entered a league inhabited by few Canadians beyond Margaret Atwood.” Ottawa Citizen

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Review:

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 Ryan

From 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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