Elegantly written and profoundly moving, Deafening sent an uncommon roar through the literary world when it made its way into the hands of its first readers at this past years Frankfurt Book Fair, and was immediately snapped up by twelve eminent publishers from around the world. Frances Itanis lauded debut novel is a tale of remarkable virtuosity and power, set on the eve of the Great War and spanning two continents and the life and loves of a young deaf woman in Canada named Grania ONeill.
At the age of five, Grania-the daughter of hardworking Irish hoteliers in smalltown Ontario-emerges from a bout of scarlet fever profoundly deaf and is suddenly sealed off from the world that was just beginning to open for her. Her guilt-plagued mother cannot accept her daughters deafness. Granias saving grace is her grandmother Mamo, who tries to teach Grania to read and speak again. Granias older sister, Tress, is a beloved ally as well-obliging when Grania begs her to shout words into her ear canals and forging a rope to keep the sisters connected from their separate beds at night when Grania fears the terrible vulnerability that darkness brings. When it becomes clear that she can no longer thrive in the world of the hearing, her family sends her to live at the Ontario School for the Deaf in Belleville, where, protected from the often-unforgiving hearing world outside, she learns sign language and speech.
After graduation Grania stays on to work at the school, and it is there that she meets Jim Lloyd, a hearing man. In wonderment the two begin to create a new emotional vocabulary that encompasses both sound and silence. But just two weeks after their wedding, Jim must leave home to serve as a stretcher bearer on the blood-soaked battlefields of Flanders.
During this long war of attrition, Jim and Granias letters back and forth-both real and imagined-attempt to sustain their young love in a world as brutal as it is beautiful. Frances Itanis 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.A magnificent tale of love and war, Deafening is finally an ode to language-how it can console, imprison, and liberate, and how it alone can bridge vast chasms of geography and experience. Deafening is being published around the world by the following publishers:
Brazil (Portuguese) - Editora Objetiva Canada (English) - HarperCollins Catalonia (Catalan) - Columna Edicions France (French) - Editions JC Lattes Germany (German) - Berlin Verlag Greece (Greek) - Livani Publishing Organization Holland (Dutch) - Arena Italy (Italian) - Frassinelli/Sperling & Kupfer Editori Japan (Japanese) - Shincho Sha Portugal (Portuguese) - Dom Quixote Spain (Spanish) - Ediciones Maeva UK (English) - Hodder & Stoughton US (English) - Grove/Atlantic