Friday, September 10, 2010

‘Deaf Sentence’ by David Lodge

10 September 2010

I’ve just finished reading ‘Deaf Sentence’, the latest novel by David Lodge. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by David Lodge (‘Home Truths’ reviewed here in September 2009) and is was a pleasure to remind myself how much I like his style. ‘Deaf Sentence’ draws on his own experience of losing his hearing and provides a tragic-comic guide to the inconveniences of deafness. But the real theme of the book is death: this is fairly dark territory for David Lodge and it’s a very sad novel - though not without his trademark humour and lightness of touch. Despite the impending sense that all was not going to end well, it gripped my attention and I very much enjoyed the journey. ‘Deaf Sentence’ is a study of family relationships and an ailing parent and reminded me of the similarities between David Lodge’s novels and those of Anne Tyler (such as ‘Noah’s Compass’ reviewed here in May 2010) while also making me think of 'The Corrections' by Jonathan Franzen, 'A Spot of Bother' by Mark Haddon (reviewed here in June 2007) and 'The Promise of Happiness' by Justin Cartwright (reviewed here in January 2008). But with its academic setting and references to Catholicism it’s unmistakeably David Lodge. He wears his research lightly and I enjoyed the references to linguistics. ‘Deaf Sentence’ is another accomplished, entertaining, moving and thought-provoking novel by a master of the genre.



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