Jennifer Reese
September 24, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Deaf Sentence

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Lodge
publisher
Viking
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

Desmond Bates, the ? narrator of David Lodge’s terrific new novel, Deaf Sentence, is a retired linguistics ? professor trying to cope with the ?indignities of late middle age — ?specifically, the fact that he is going deaf. He putters benignly about the house while his wife’s career blossoms, endures depressing visits with his ?senile father, drinks too much, and begins a potentially dangerous association with an unstable, seductive young graduate student. (She’s writing her thesis on suicide notes and likes to be spanked.) Lodge manages to balance Desmond’s amusing disquisitions on subjects like Wonderbra ads and ?hearing aids with somber reflections on mortality, a balancing act ?that few authors could pull off with such grace. A?

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