Sentenced to Deaf

6 05 2011

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Is there anything to be said in favour of deafness, wonders Desmond, the narrator of David Lodge’s brilliant novel. To him, it seems an imminent, inevitable “drawn-out introduction to the long silence into which we will all eventually lapse”. But whereas blindness is tragic, deafness, he concedes, is often comic. His journal charts the embarrassments and comedy to which his condition gives rise. In Lodge’s expert hands, the strains of Desmond’s newly acquired role as house husband, the worrying problems of a mildly demented father and the dangerous attentions of an importunate, unscrupulous postgraduate groupie coalesce into a hilarious and moving account of one man’s life under the sentence of deaf.

It is really pretty amusing in places and Lodge does treat the difficult subject of deafness sensitively yet lightly. Outstanding description of the joys of a CentreParcs style holiday experience. Well worth a read.

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Books you haven’t read

13 10 2007

How to talk about books you haven’t read by Pierre Bayard

unread

In the spirit intended by the author, I’ve not actually read this book so have to copy the synopsis from Amazon:

Synopsis
In this disarmingly mischievous and provocative book, already a runaway bestseller in France, Pierre Bayard contends that in this age of infinite publication, the truly cultivated person is not the one who has read a book, but the one who understands the book’s place in our culture. Drawing on examples from works by Graham Greene, Umberto Eco, Oscar Wilde, Montaigne (who couldn’t remember books he himself had written), and many others, he examines the many kinds of ‘non-reading’ (forgotten books, unknown books, books discussed by others, books we’ve skimmed briefly) and the many potentially nightmarish situations in which we are called upon to discuss our reading with others (with our loved ones, with the book’s author, etc.).At heart, this is a book that will challenge everyone who’s ever felt guilty about missing some of the Great Books to consider what reading means, how we absorb books as part of ourselves, and how and why we spend so much time talking about what we have, or haven’t, read.

Which is all wonderfully reminiscent of the great parlour game ‘Humiliation’ in Changing Places by David Lodge in which players compete to admit to the most shocking unread classic.








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