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Hannah, James

3 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0826209009 / ISBN 13: 9780826209009
Published by University of Missouri Press, 1993
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Columbia Books, ABAA/ILAB (Columbia, MO, U.S.A.)

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Hannah, James. SIGN LANGUAGES. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, c1993. First printing. 152pp, 8vo, As new hardbound in d/w,. Bookseller Inventory # 47845

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: University of Missouri Press

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In the haunting, beautifully told stories of Sign Languages, James Hannah depicts a very real world in which people face the limitations of language as they seek communion with one another. On a cross-country car trip, a father realizes he does not have the words to talk to the six-year-old daughter he scarcely knows. A serial killer, trapped within the spiraling deterioration of his own mind, expresses him self with savage violence. Lost in the woods, Charles emerges at a rural farmhouse where he discovers fellowship without the benefit of words in "Sign Language." An ancient recluse tells his story in the brilliant, bittersweet "Histoire de mon temps," recalling his ritual of gleaning the roadside and constructing his life from the abandoned objects of others.
Whether urban professionals or societal outcasts, Hannah's characters are as real as your neighbor next door. They are people you know and people you hope never to meet. But in every instance, Hannah reveals the threads that link them to one another and to us. Though words often fail, we do find ourselves connected - by devotion, by mutual need, sometimes by love. In the unforgettable stories of Sign Languages, James Hannah eloquently relates the severe and simple truth of our lives: that in a stark, sometimes violent world, we can find redemption.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An eclectic, bittersweet group of nine stories--Hannah's second book of fiction (Desperate Measures, 1988--not reviewed)- -mostly concerning lonesome men in exile who struggle desperately for human connection or who write off humankind. In the powerful title story, Charles is lost but comes upon a rural farmhouse where he is saved (imagine Welty's ``Death of a Traveling Salesman'' with an upbeat ending); and in deftly done and touching ``Interstate,'' Henry is traveling cross-country with his six-year-old daughter, Maggie, whose soda-pop-fueled premonition (``I think something really bad is going to happen to us'') turns out, come morning, to be a false alarm. ``Residue'' is a Paul Bowles-flavored story about a man working in an Asian desert and saving money but losing his soul in a place of ``hardships but no dangers.'' ``Backyards'' is about a man who stays for a month in his brother's house; the piece first takes a voyeuristic turn, then turns absurd. ``Gypsy Moth'' tries--mostly successfully--to get into the mind of a serial killer, while ``Rising Water, Wind-Driven Rain''--set in the 17th, 20th, and 2lst centuries--gets stretched too thin and turns tedious. Some of these were first published in magazines like The Kansas Quarterly and The South Carolina Review. Hannah's plots are uneven, but his ear for mood and tone is nearly unerring--and the collection, for that reason, has a cumulative power that the individual stories don't have on their own. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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