Deaf since she was five years old, Grania has learned that watching is not always enough to survive in the world of the hearing. She has learned that words can often be impossible to see, their shape disappearing into a place where she cannot decipher their skittery ways. Sent to the Ontario School for the Deaf in Belleville, Grania must learn to live away from her loving family, lonely for the company of her sister and the secret language they shared. When Grania falls in love with Jim, a young hearing man from the east coast, her life seems complete, but the First World War soon tears them apart and sweeps him into the worst of experiences—trench warfare. At the Western Front, Jim is tested to his limit as he and his buddy Irish—both stretcher bearers—retrieve the shattered bodies of their comrades.
Fueled by tremendous word-of-mouth excitement at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Deafening has already become an international publishing phenomenon, with rights sold in over 12 countries so far. Author Frances Itani, the source of this unprecedented attention for a debut novel, has steadily been gaining a stellar reputation for her short fiction collections, her most recent, Leaning, Leaning Over Water, receiving ecstatic reviews. Touted as “writer to watch,” Itani has lived up to her accolades with Deafening.
Her depiction of a world where sound exists only in the margins is a singular feat in literary fiction, a place difficult to leave and even harder to forget. Elegantly written, with grace and precision, Deafening is, above all, a deeply moving journey through the strands of strength and vulnerability that weave heart and spirit together.