Deaf Sentence- David Lodge
pages: 435 (I accidentally grabbed a large print edition)
Desmond Bates is a retired linguistic professor who is going deaf and has a rather stultified personal life. Described on the book jacket entirely in terms of tragicomedy and deafness.
When the character muses on his life, he tends to wax poetically in a well written way. The title gives you a glimpse into the humor since deaf sentence is a pun on how similar death and deaf sound to the hard of hearing. Desmond is an engaging narrator and a spot on character.
However, I did not appreciate the novel, probably because I am hard of hearing and have been for all my life. I didn't like the constant harping on about an impoverished and hard life. I was irritated beyond belief by his gripes about his hearing aids; 'sweaty earmolds' means you need to go to your audiologist so they can drill the hole a bit larger, go and get it fixed! /tangent I really wanted to shake him sometimes and be like “Get out of your ears man!”. I can sympathize with the irritation of loud situations but quite frankly, he confessed he had digital hearing aids- if the programs aren't working well enough, go to your audiologist and talk to him/her, don't just complain about it! /tangent. Argh! I could go on but I risk sounding entirely unsympathetic.
It was particularly irritating because the strongest parts of the novel had nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with his hearing loss and yet the first part of the novel just harps on and on about how hard it is to be going deaf. Was that the comic part of the book and the humor just escaped me? I found the strange manipulative American more comic than anything else in the book and so I assumed that plotline was the comic. Or was the hearing loss the supreme tragic part? Frustrating really, because there was so much good overlaid with this bad veneer of the difficulties of going deaf. A quick glance on the interwebs shows a great number of positive reviews. But then again, maybe as a young hard of hearing woman, I simply can't understand the plight of an aged, losing-hearing man.