Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Recommendation 2 : Deaf Sentence

David Lodge has had a long career in fiction since his first novel The Picturegoers in 1960, combining comedy and thoughtfulness in novels such as Changing Places, Thinks, Nice Work and Therapy. His latest, Deaf Sentence (just out in paperback) is another highly enjoyable work, if not his very best.

Desmond Bates is a retired professor of linguistics, whose hearing has deteriorated badly, the cause both of distress and humour. He is caught in an uncertain state, spinning around in some confusion between his much more robust wife 'Fred' (Winifred), an aged and embarrassing father, and a disturbed and disturbing young female American student, Alex. Alex is a rather unconvincing character, but otherwise the novel shows Lodge's characteristic strengths, being both delightfully comic and moving.

He is interviewed by Rachel Cooke in the Guardian about the book here, and Jane Shilling reviews it in the Times here.

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