Deafening Itani vividly captures the isolation of a deaf girl seeking normalcy in her small Canadian town circa World War I. The epic story begins a… Fiction
Book Review

Deafening (Fall 2003)

Details Writer: Frances Itani; Genre: Fiction

Itani vividly captures the isolation of a deaf girl seeking normalcy in her small Canadian town circa World War I. The epic story begins a few months after 5-year-old Grania O'Neill suffers a bout of scarlet fever that causes irreparable hearing loss. She spends more than a decade at the Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and returns home at 19, an accomplished -- and newly married -- schoolteacher. Then her hearing husband, Jim, is shipped off to the front lines in France, and Itani shuttles between his standard-issue battlefield yarn and Grania's experience on the homefront. ''Deafening'' resonates most when Itani focuses on the rich details of this unusual woman's plight.

Originally posted Sep 12, 2003 Published in issue #727-728 Sep 12, 2003 Order article reprints