9780871139023

Deafening: A Novel

Itani, Frances

ISBN 10: 0871139022 / 0-87113-902-2
ISBN 13: 9780871139023
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
Deafening is a tale of remarkable virtuosity and power. At the age of five, Grania — the daughter of hardworking hoteliers in small-town Ontario — emerges from a bout of scarlet fever profoundly deaf, and is suddenly sealed off from the world that was just beginning to open for her. Her mother cannot accept her daughter's deafness, so Grania's indefatigable grandmother tries to teach her language from the inside out. But when it becomes clear that Grania can no longer thrive in the world of the hearing, her family sends her to live at the Ontario School for the Deaf where she learns sign language and speech. After graduation Grania stays on to work at the school, and it is there that she meets Jim Lloyd, a hearing man. In wonderment the two begin to create a new emotional vocabulary that encompasses both sound and silence. But two weeks after their wedding, Jim must leave to serve as a stretcher-bearer on the blood-soaked battlefields of Flanders. During the war, Jim and Grania's letters — both real and imagined — attempt to sustain their intimacy, even while they are both pulled into cataclysmic events that will alter the world forever.

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

Review

Review:
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

From the Publisher

 

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Deafening: A Novel (ISBN: 0871139022 / 0-87113-902-2)
Itani, Frances
ISBN 10: 0871139022
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Itani, Frances
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Itani, Frances
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Book Description: Atlantic Monthly Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2003. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Frances Itani's lauded and award-winning American debut novel has been sold in sixteen countries, was a Canadian best seller for sixteen weeks, reaching #1, and has been awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award for the Caribbean and Canadian Region. Set on the eve of the Great War, Deafening is a tale of remarkable virtuosity and power. At the age of five, Grania emerges from a bout of scarlet fever profoundly deaf, and is suddenly sealed off from the world that was just beginning to open for her. Sent to the Ontario School for the Deaf, Grania must learn to live away from her family. When Grania falls in love with Jim Lloyd, a young hearing man, her life seems complete, but WWI soon tears them apart when Jim is sent to the battlefields of Flanders. During this long and brutal war of attrition, Jim and Grania's letters back and forth-both real and imagined-attempt to sustain the intimacy they discovered in Canada. A magnificent tale of love and war, Deafening is also an ode to language-how it can console, imprison, and liberate, and how it alone can bridge vast chasms of geography and experience. Bookseller Inventory # 002007

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Book Description: NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. First U.S. edition, first printing, paperback ADVANCE READING COPY, unread in MINT condition (no marks/flaws). Bookseller Inventory # 5202

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Book Description: New YorkAtlantic Monthly Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st. inscribed to justin. Inscr. By Author. Bookseller Inventory # 003693

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