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Monday, 17 March 2014

David Lodge - Deaf Sentence

Book reviwed live on bookshow by Brian Lowen March 2014.  This is Brians review:
Another interesting book from David Lodge who cannot resist including in the story some notes on grammar and literature.

The title can be a bit confusing if you do not read it and see that it is a play on words as deaf is spelt d,e,a,f.

The story concerns Desmond Bates, a retired linguistics professor and is written as a kind of diary.  He lives with his wife Winifred (Fred for short) in Brickley.
Desmond is very hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid most of the time as his wife gets very cross with him if she is talking to him and it is not wearing it, because he cannot hear what she is saying!

It usually works quite well, except at noisy parties. It is at one of these that he meets Alex Loom, a young, attractive, American postgraduate who for her PhD topic is undertaking a stylistic study of suicide notes. Desmond cannot understand a word she is saying due to the surrounding noise, but nods in what he hopes is the right places.

He is somewhat horrified to learn later that he has unwittingly agreed to help her with her topic as she is not getting on very well with her tutor at the college. He subsequently meets Alex several times but causes a problem for himself because he has

never got round to telling his wife about these one-to-one sessions with this attractive young lady.

He tries to stop helping her but she is very persistent. He accepts a lecture tour in Poland to escape her clutches and this goes well. He makes a visit to the second world war nazi camp for the Jews and gives a very moving description of his feelings on visiting the place and also the nearby extermination camp at Birkenau where the gas chambers and the cremation ovens were.

Desmond is recommended to go to lip-reading classes and he finds this quite rewarding.
I found the book very interesting , learning the problems that deaf people suffer from.
One relevant statement I found quite poignant was : Deafness is comic – Blindness is tragic.

A good interesting and amusing book which I can recommend.

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