3.14 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 15.24mm | 90.72g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprinted edition
  • 0060925922
  • 9780060925925

Review Text

"I am an archeologist digging for sound, for its origins, its wondrous manifestations." Deafened in a skiing accident two decades ago, Merker, in lyrical, intent appreciations, plumbs the relationships between self and sound, and the webs of communication within the world - seeking "new ways of listening for the hearing and the hearing impaired." To the author, deaf and despairing, a friend offered an "experiment" of sharing in words a world of sound, until an awareness grew of events and things with sound: a struck match; the thunder that follows lightening. Oddly, then, "sounds become alive to me in ways they never were when I could hear them." Merker explores the physics of sound and the uses made of ultrasonics and mechanical aids for the deaf from 19th-century funnels and cones to today's experiments in bone conduction. Throughout, there are Merker's own "readings" of vibrations, which she interprets with visual sightings. (Is a pump working? Bare feet on floorboards give the answer.) Merker delights in the seascape and fauna of Long Island Sound, where she lives with her husband in a houseboat. She observes birds, fish (there's an amusing, head-shaking profile of two gloriously ugly, noisy fish), and insects - with their fascinating "ears." Merker, who lip-reads, has been helped by her hearing aid and pays tribute also to two beloved dogs, one trained as a hearing guide dog. She turns outward through her disability toward "discovering the world anew," and her militant insistence on the dignity of all "handicapped" people is a popular theme. Like the work of Annie Dillard, whose prose Merker's resembles, this journey through a disability quivers with "private passion" and with an underlying cry of discovery - ringing evidence of an adventurous mind. Of interest both to hearing and non-hearing readers. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

7 ratings
3.14 out of 5 stars
5 29% (2)
4 14% (1)
3 14% (1)
2 29% (2)
1 14% (1)
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