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Deaf Sentence

Deaf Sentence

Geschrieben von David Lodge

Erzählt von Steven Crossley


Deaf Sentence

Geschrieben von David Lodge

Erzählt von Steven Crossley

Bewertungen:
4/5 (27 Bewertungen)
Länge:
11 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Jan 1, 2008
ISBN:
9781461847489
Format:
Hörbuch

Beschreibung

Celebrated British novelist David Lodge is a two-time finalist for the Booker Prize and winner of the Whitbread Award. Deaf Sentence finds linguistics professor Desmond Bates forced into an early retirement by hearing loss. While at a noisy party, Bates politely says yes to a question he can’t quite hear. Soon, he learns he’s agreed to supervise a dangerously sexy undergrad on her suicide note research.

“Another wise, witty look at the human condition from Lodge.” —Kirkus Reviews
Freigegeben:
Jan 1, 2008
ISBN:
9781461847489
Format:
Hörbuch


Über den Autor

David Lodge is the prize-winning author of over a dozen novels and many works of literary criticism.


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4.1
27 Bewertungen / 26 Rezensionen
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  • (4/5)
    I grew up surrounded by deafness. However, my mother and two great aunts, although "stone deaf" were great troupers, seemingly unabashed by this "handicap", loving life as it was, laughing at the miscommunications that would occur.. They did not express the frustration and embarrassment that the protagonist of this book did. It was others who reacted with frustration and irritation to them. One restaurant asked my mother not to bring my great aunt back because she spoke so loudly in a penetrating voice. I could imagine Desmond Bates noting that that would never happen to a blind person. And Lodge is correct--"blindness is tragic, but deafness is comic". At first I was impatient with with Bates' struggles with his "disability" because of what I had observed in my family. I wanted to say, "Suck it up." The relationship between Bates and his younger wife never seemed believable to me. What on earth did she see in him? Their total interaction seemed to be sex. But, perhaps that's how men in general see marriage. I found the book to be not only funny, but educational-- interesting linguistics terms and observations, quotations from poets I hadn't read. The book made me reflect on my own increasing deafness and gave me several directions to go in choosing what to read next - how exciting is that?!
  • (3/5)
    Because I'm deaf myself, I wanted to really like "Deaf Sentence", but once the plot began to deeply involve a devious graduate student complicating the life of the late-deafened protagonist, it kind of went downhill for me. Although the character Desmond is late-deafened (and British) and I've been deaf since birth (and American), I feel the descriptions of getting lost when trying to converse and other things that deaf people have to deal with was fairly accurate. This is the first work I've read by author David Lodge, and I couldn't find out whether he is experiencing deafness himself.In spite of the fact that I didn't fall in love with this book, I'm keeping it on the bookshelf with my other deaf literature (i.e. "Talk Talk" by T.C. Boyle) and memoirs.I may have been slow but I realized halfway through the novel that "Deaf Sentence" is a play on the term "Death Sentence" -- it's surprising how many of us deaf people have experienced being called "death", but also many people might consider a diagnosis of deafness in themselves or their children to be a death sentence (it isn't in spite of inconveniences and discrimination -- it's all about attitude).
  • (5/5)
    Thoughtful and amusing excerpts about high frequency deafness which helped me understand better what going deaf feels like. Full growing characters were created. I enjoyed.
  • (2/5)
    macnabbs and LyzzyBee have said pretty much all I wanted to say, except that Desmond's near-deaf experience isn't mine ... only an idiot would try and pretend they could hear during a long conversation. And his hearing aids sound like crap - mine works much better than those described, and mine's an NHS one!
  • (5/5)
    Twice short-listed for a Booker Prize, David Lodge, a British author has a novel in a sub-genre I really enjoy – novels set in Academia. His 2008 novel, Deaf Sentence, is a darkly comic tale of Professor Desmond Bates and his wife Fred, who is a partner in a home décor and design business.Professor Bates headed the linguistics department at a university. He began losing his hearing, and when he was offered an early retirement he took it. Fortunately, his wife had partnered with a friend in the opening of her business, and as he retired, the business picked up, and the couple had a healthy income. He also cares for his elderly father, whom he visits once a week to spend the day.Desmond occasionally regrets his retirement. Lodge Writes, “At first it was very enjoyable, like a long sabbatical, but after eighteen months or so his freedom from routine tasks and duties began to pall. He missed the calendar of the academic year which had given his life a shape for such a long time, its passage marked by reassuringly predictable events: the arrival of the excited and expectant [freshman] every autumn; the Department Christmas party with its traditional sketches by students mimicking the mannerisms and favorite jargon of members of staff; the reading week in the spring term when they took the second year to a residential conference centre in the Lake district; the examiners meetings in the summer term when, sitting round a long table heaped with marked scripts and extended essays, they calculated and classified the Finals results like gods dispensing rewards and punishments to mortals; and finally the [commencement] itself, processing to organ music in the Assembly hall, listening to the University Orator fulsomely summarize the achievements of honorary [graduates], shaking hands afterward with proud parents and their begowned children sipping fruit punch fruit punch under the marquee erected on the Round Lawn, after which all dispersed to a well-earned long vacation. He missed the rhythm of the academic year as a peasant might miss differences between seasons if they were suddenly withdrawn; and he found he missed too the structure of the academic week, the full diary of teaching assignments, postgraduate supervisions, essay marking, committee meetings, interviews, and deadlines for this and that required report, tasks he used to grumble about but the completion of which, however trivial and ephemeral they were, gave a kind of low-level satisfaction, and ensured that one never, ever, had to confront the question: what shall I do with myself today? In retirement, he confronted it every morning as soon as he woke” (28).This passage seems eerily prescient as inch toward retirement myself.David Lodge has a couple of items, which gave me pause; however, I quickly adapted to his style. Of course, the long sentences and extensive use of the English Major’s carefully protected and hoarded punctuation mark – the semi-colon. But all in all, a pleasant read for anyone who has spent more than a few years in academia. David Lodge’s novel, Deaf Sentence, holds a well-earned spot on my shelf of fiction set in academia. 5 stars.--Jim, 11/28/15
  • (5/5)
    "Deaf Sentence" is painful, funny, and tender all at once. The protagonist, Desmond Bates, is a Brtish Midlands university linguistics professor in his 60s who has taken early retirement as a reasonable means of dealing with his growing deafness. His inability to hear made his work difficult, and continues to make every interaction with another human being potentially difficult and embarrassing. Hearing aids are often less than helpful; they turn all sound into noise. At the start of the book, Bates is discontented though managing relatively well the unexpected loneliness caused by his retirement and his inability to hear, and the ups and downs of family — in particular, his wife and her grown children and mother, his own grown children with his first wife who died of cancer, and his declining father, a former musician living in London with no support network other than his only son. Bates's balance is lost when he meets an attractive American graduate student who says that she'd like him to be her dissertation advisor, despite his having retired. She is unpredictable and difficult, and seems to have attached herself to him. The fact that he is ambivalent about everything to do with her (when he can hear what she has to say) and her work, an examination into the comparative styles of suicide notes, makes everything worse.Everyone in the world eventually faces aspects of life that "Deaf Sentence" touches: aging, deafness, illness, the end of one's work life, loss of those one loves, death. It's the most common stuff there is, and yet it's unique to each of us.
  • (5/5)
    One of those books in which just about every phrase from the reviews quoted in the paperback copy rings true. 'Enjoyable, though-provoking' ... 'deeply melancholic' ... 'funny, humane' ... 'extremely readable.' All true, and much more besides.'Deaf Sentence' is the story of Desmond Bates, a retired English academic who has been losing his hearing for some time and is still struggling with the consequences. Hearing aids that don't always function, conversations at social functions in echoing rooms where it is necessary to guess almost all of the other party's words and meaning. Desmond's (second) wife has become a successful businesswoman in later life; they each have one ageing parent left, though Desmond's is coping less well with his age and will come to play a more significant part in the plot. That plot also involves Desmond being drawn back into the fringes of academic life in his university and elsewhere.Lodge is a master at combining humour and pathos effortlessly and you can feel for his characters whilst laughing with them and at them. He explores many themes, including favourites such as religion, death, sex and language and others including the Holocaust, step-families, suicide and inter-generational ties. As is often the case he also plays with the form, in this case by switching the narrative regularly from the third person to the first person. This is done by a natural device; it is sometimes signalled explicitly and sometimes noted after the change, but never intrudes on what is an effortless read.Lodge has previously referred to the difficulties faced by translators of fiction within his novels; in this one, he notes in the dedication that this book will present them with particular difficulties from the title onwards. This is in part because the narrator is frequently trying to translate poorly-heard spoken English into something meaningful. Much of the humour, and some of the plot, is contingent on these mishearings and partial hearings.A perfect novel in every way, and one that's as good an introduction to his work as any other.
  • (5/5)
     David Lodge is one of those names in literature you can trust. Whatever subject he chooses (almost always against the backdrop of a university English department) he does it with insight and humour. Here it’s deafness , its trials, exasperations and sheer invisibleness. The experiences of the narrator, retired professor Desmond, as he loses hearing aids down the back of the car seat, attends lip reading classes etc are funny, but they also ring very true. There is the full range of humour here, from farce upwards. I particularly liked the subtle ways in which the professor can’t help behaving like a professor when surrounded by old ladies at the lip reading class.There are moments when the author seizes upon some aspect of linguistics thrown up by the plot and goes off on one. I learned quite a few new words that way, not ones I suspect I will ever use. As the book progresses its subject matter widens to take in such subjects as bed-bathing elderly people and a visit to Auschwitz. I was never quite sure what was coming next. A book that was good company from start to finish.
  • (4/5)
    For being a story about a older middle-aged professor dealing with early deafness, an ailing father, a stagnant marriage, and a stalker student, this was surprisingly funny. The story went in many different directions, making it more a slice-of-life piece than anything else, which is very evident at the end.
  • (3/5)
    I really liked this book. Very simple diary style writings of a few very evently months in the life of a retired linguistics lecturer. He struggles with his hearing loss, diminished stature, his elderly father and a very strange graduate student.
  • (3/5)
    I always enjoy David Lodge, but never as much as I did fifteen years ago when I read all his early work.
  • (3/5)
    Unfortunately, not up to his usual standard and I fear it's because Lodge himself must be suffering from severe hearing loss. There just isn't enough about the intellectual or political trends blowing through academia, which have always been Lodge's forte. Ditto his humor.However, I bet anyone that is losing his/her hearing or is close to such a person will really enjoy Lodge's descriptions of the sounds and feelings, the struggles with the hearing aids--and how sometimes in a crowded room, you just fake it.
  • (5/5)
    It has been years since I read my one and only David Lodge book (Nice Work)and after reading Deaf Sentence I ask myself 'why did I wait so long?' I absolutely loved this. It made me laugh out loud. It was witty, a little depressing, but really well read. I wanted to adopt the adorable Professor Bates and his traditional view of the English Language and his failing hearing. I'm off to read more David Lodge.
  • (4/5)
    How can I sell a novel about a retired prof who is going deafer by the day? David Lodge is an author I have liked over the years so I took it on faith to give this one a try. What a great read! You will gain a sympathetic understanding of the frustrations faced by the hard of hearing (turning up the hearing aid is not always the solution) while being pulled along by interesting characters and a plot line involving a student stalker.
  • (4/5)
    Lodge exceeded my expectations with this fine, short novel. I picked up Deaf Sentence out of some loyalty to the man who wrote "Small World;" reviews had led me to hope for very little insight or humor from this most recent work. But I was pleasantly surprised. Desmond, our main character, proved an observant guide through the changes that deafness brings into the life of an academic--to his work, his social life and status, and his marriage. I found especially poignant the discussion of how deafness zapped his will to research.While I enjoyed many of Lodge's sex-filled satires, I also enjoyed the decidedly less sexy discussion of intimate relationships here. Desmond's marriage seems on the brink of collapse at the beginning of the book, but by the end (spoiler!) he and his wife have learned to live with his disability and keep their love alive. The requisite attractive, young "coed" (and Lodge's books always make me think of worlds in which female students are still co-eds) is shown here to be a fantasy, a problem, too good to be true, unlike many of Lodge's randy young women.I like this form of novel--part journal, part fictional memoir, part just first-person narration. Desmond's past and present intermingle throughout the text, giving insight into the humane and story-telling view of other humans, always remembering the child that makes the man. Although Desmond and his wife have arrived at a point of prosperity, his father provides a perspective on the working class and keeps the whole tome from espousing pure elitism (there's still elitism aplenty, but at least it is tempered). Anyway, this book really captured my attention and held it and even made me cry a bit, a relief after several more highly recommended novels turned out to be duds.
  • (3/5)
    Bought 19 Oct 2009 - AmazonI was very much looking forward to reading this novel by a favourite author, but unfortunately it was disappointing. There were two strands to the novel - one, the narrator's increasing deafness and his relationship with his aging father, and two, a rather fantasy-driven relationship between the narrator, a younger ex-colleague and a nubile postgraduate student. The first thread, which Lodge admits in the acknowledgements was based on autobiographical experience, might have been better told as memoir. The parts on deafness were on the whole interesting, although I found a reliance on silly puns and ideas of what had been said a bit wearing. The parts about the elderly father were touching, but have, really, been done before elsewhere and didn't really add anything to the subject. The strand about the postgraduate student felt a bit grubby and the writing of a late-middle-aged fantasy, which felt a bit distasteful (I have met the author a couple of times and this didn't sit well with my view of him - fine in a completely invented tale but uneasy in something which had some autobiography in it) and seemed to peter out oddly.A scene remembering and considering 7/7 seemed clumsily inserted (it is hard to do this well, and can jar, but can be done better than this) and there were a few rants about Centre Parks and Young People Today which would fit better into a Grumpy Old Men book, almost as if these passages had already been written and were popped in to make up the word count.There was some good stuff on linguistics, some interesting passages about the lip-reading class the narrator joins, (although a passage about hearing dogs for the deaf seemed to be inserted as a point of information for the readers)I feel bad that I didn't enjoy this more, but I didn't. I was disappointed, and I and, I suspect, other readers, deserve more of this wonderful novelist and satirist. I will still go back to, especially, the early novels with glee, but I'll be nervous about approaching the next new one when it comes.
  • (5/5)
    Deaf Sentence is, hands down, one of the best novels I have read this year. Period. It starts out chuckling-to-laugh-out-loud funny, but then turns serious and ultimately becomes very dark and sad. A lot like life itself, one might say. The protagonist, Desmond Bates, is a retired college linguistics professor in the north of England who has lost a wife to cancer, but then remarried quite happily to a woman several years younger. The title of the book comes from his increasing deafness, which began in his forties, but has become quite profound by the time of the story. Bates is sixty-five-ish (like me) and often quite frustrated with his progressive inability to decipher normal conversation, particularly in a crowded noisy environment. There are many comical scenes about how this can lead to misunderstandings and embarrassments. But the truth is, for the person who can't hear, it's not very funny at all. It's just ... well, frustrating as hell. Forced into an early retirement because of his disability, Bates is kind of unmoored and feels rather useless. He becomes accidentally involved with a dangerously nutty postgrad female student, an American. Not sexually involved, although that is a distinct possibility from the outset. This girls's dissertation topic is the textual analysis of suicide notes. See what I mean? Nuts! Suicide becomes an underlying theme here, however, as Bates realizes, to his surprise, just how unhappy his deafness and lack of purpose has made him. There are other elements in his life that take center stage too: the younger, attractive wife who is just becoming successful; an aging father (89) who lives alone in London and is becoming gradually unmoored and confused; grown children with their own lives. There are particularly moving moments in the latter half of the book that could make you cry. Exchanges between Bates and his rather distant grown son, Richard, who reveals how sad he was when his mother died and had wanted to be there, but was instead on a ski holiday with friends; and also between Bates and his father, who recalls his own first memories. In short, if you are of a certain age (in your sixties) and a part of that "sandwich" generation, then this book will decidedly hit home. The fact that the story was set in England was no impediment. This is, quite simply, a beautifully written and extremely human story. Lodge admits that, in the Acknowledgements - that certain elements of the story - the narrator's deafness and his dad - are autobiographical. I felt for him, in that regard, but make no mistake. David Lodge is, in this book, at the very top of his form as a writer. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It deals with issues that most of us are likely to face: disability due to aging, aging itself, what gives life meaning. Desmond's relationship with his elderly father, with his wife, and with an unstable university student are all believable, each presenting special rewards and challenges. Lodge's use of the English language is flawless. An extremely enjoyable read, especially for those who love the power of words and language.
  • (4/5)
    Remember how you felt when you read Where the Red Fern Grows, at ten, or Catcher in the Rye at fourteen, or perhaps The Handmaid’s Tale at thirty? Different books may have marked your watershed moments, but surely you will remember that feeling that a character in a book is real, that he or she would understand you perfectly, as you do him or her. Deaf Sentence offered me that experience once again.In his mid-sixties, Desmond Bates has several problems: his tedious retirement after a satisfying career as a linguistics professor, his aging father who is slipping toward dementia, and a young woman determined to entangle Desmond in something unsavory, or worse, something insane. But his biggest problem is his deafness, his gradual descent into a world where spoken words -- the great fascinating of his life -- are no longer easily available to him. The subtle but ongoing confusion produced by his failure to understand what people are saying gradually absorbs his life and threatens to rob him of his identity. With humor, drama and empathy, Lodge is at the height of his considerable powers as he gives us a wonderfully clear window into coming-of-age at 60-something. Everyone should read this: the young so that they will understand and anticipate, and those facing their 60’s, so they will know they are not alone.
  • (4/5)
    My mother has been partially deaf since she was a child, and I picked up this book with the idea that it might provide some insight and shed some humorous light onto the situation. It did. I found Desmond attaching and likable, and actually grew fond of all the characters - expect for Alex Loom. She was advertised on the back cover as an important element of the book, and I expected the plot to revolve around her, but in the end I found myself wishing that she'd been left out of the book entirely. She seemed to come right out of another book. Her plotline added little to the story that couldn't have ben introduced without her, and the lack of an eventual resolution regarding her character left me a little frustrated. That aside, I enjoyed this book a lot - I especially liked the relationship between Desmond and his father, which was both funny and touching.
  • (4/5)
    This is my first David Lodge book. In my library, he is a perennial favorite and I thought it was high time I read him. Having nothing to compare it with, I found it funny and enjoyable. Desmond is a wonderful character and I liked the scope of the work, from Desmond's deafness, his declining father, his wife Fred all the way to the bizarre character of Alex Loom. I appreciated his descriptions of dealing with deafness, hearing aid battles and I loved the fact that he was a linguist no longer able to hear the basics, never mind the subtleties of language. I found the party scene where he tried to fake his ability to hear hilarious.
  • (4/5)
    Not up to the very high standard of Lodge's earlier academic satires. But a very well done and enjoyable work in its own right. Desmond Bates is a terrific character in the Lodge tradition, but the story itself, and especially the conclusion, is slightly disappointing.
  • (4/5)
    Lodge tells the story of Desmond Bates, a 60ish retired linguistics professor at an English university, who is partially deaf. In a humorous and human way, we learn how difficult this can be to live with. Along the way, we also encounter Desmond's second wife Fred, a successful interior design store owner; his 89 year old father Harry, a former dance band member who is trying to maintain his independence in his own home while fighting the effects of aging; and a Ph.D candidate, Alex, who pushes Desmond toward risky behavior. The author weaves these well-drawn characters, plus other minor ones, into Desmond's journal entries for only four months, but he pens an excellent story with terrific insight into how Desmond copes with his hearing loss and its effect on all those around them.A stunning part of the story occurs when Desmond travels to Poland to speak at a conference in Crackow and visits Auschwitz. Very moving.
  • (4/5)
    A wry novel about a retired professor going deaf and the difficult situation he encounters when he pretends to be able to hear what a female student is saying at a party. It all worked out in the end, though I think it would have been a better book if it hadn't. Even so, he's a delightful writer.
  • (4/5)
    'I'm afraid I could never trust someone who would make irremovable marks in a library book.'Thus states Desmond, a non-P.C. retired professor of linguistics, to Alex, a voluptuous grad student who wants him to supervise her doctoral thesis. When he first meets Alex, he heard her introduce herself as 'Axe,' a more accurate name for her character.For, as he is aging, Desmond is going deaf, and the book humorously describes the mishaps caused by his many misinterpretations of what is said to him. His problems with Alex are but one aspect of his adversities. The novel also focuses on his relationship with his elderly father, also deaf (the conversations father and son carry on with each other are hilarious), who insists on living by himself despite advancing dementia. Desmond must also contend with his entirely reasonable wife, whose career is blossoming as his fades.This all sounds somewhat grim, but if you've ever read anything by David Lodge you know that this is a laugh out loud book. Most of Desmond's problems are caused by his own vanities, and his aging Dad is a hoot. His wife is Mrs. Fawlty to Desmond's Basil Fawlty.Nevertheless, the overall tone of Deaf Sentence is bittersweet. It is the most serious of the David Lodge books I've read. Desmond's despair over his encroaching deafness and his worries about his father are not understated or trivialized.
  • (3/5)
    endearing, funny, intelligent, droll... sad.

    David Lodge is one of those writers whose prose can carry me on even if i’m finding the plot and/or content a bit dull. which i am not with regards to this book. but i think i would read his words even if i did.

    i do think that Mr. Lodge perhaps likes to alternately indulge and poke fun at the nerdy academic’s restrained manner (especially in Britain) with regards to sex by writing some possible fantasies “out loud.” it makes for quite a saucy tale but one that also makes one roll one’s eyes a smidge.

    he also pokes his fun at deafness and uses semantic noise often to get there. like mondegreens but with spoken word, the protagonist, Desmond, is constantly mishearing things like his grandchild saying she got an icicle for christmas. “not much of a present,” he responds. the other family members laugh and immediately correct him: the child received a tricycle.

    as funny as this can be, there is a melancholy edge to much of it. nestled within the deaf humor is the story of disability, aging parents, adult blended families, a grad student with boundary issues, and even the macabre. the characters are wonderfully shown in their own unique lights in a lovingly humorous way. when Desmond’s son Richard comes to christmas he is described as being sneaky and then as acting like a guest at a party who knows not one soul there.

    i’m not sure i would call this book deep but it certainly does make you think about some things and gives few good laughs as it rolls snappily along towards a bittersweet ending.