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Songs for the Deaf

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A little desert town gets a sexual charge from a crash-landed alien. A dysfunctional family tries to summit Everest with “discount Sherpas” and yakloads of emotional baggage. A teen messiah emerges from a game of 3-on-3. The stories in John Henry Fleming’s Songs for the Deaf, the first story collection by the “marvelously inventive” and “winningly satiric” author of The Le ...more
Paperback, 1st, 178 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Burrow Press (first published February 18th 2014)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Kimberly Karalius
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I received an ARC of SONGS FOR THE DEAF, I had to use a Cookie Monster gif to express my excitement. Because there were no words. And as I turn the last page in this short story collection, I find myself scrambling to paste my thoughts together. I should probably start with the title story, "Songs for the Deaf," since we have a history, haha.

I had the pleasure of hearing Fleming read "Songs for the Deaf" many moons ago, when I was just a budding writer (at least, it feels that way). The st
...more
Edward Montalvo
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just fascinating and so glad to see a Florida author achieve such a wonderful style of prose not easily found amongst the locals authors; but then again Florida's literary scene is still growing. "Songs for the Deaf" is a modern twist on American folklore with some dark, satirical tones and the stories rang from sexual endeavors with aliens, missed connections with hitchhikers, and even portrayals of a sitcom stylish family outing to the Himalayas. Who hasn't had a weekend like that? Fleming has ...more
Adriana Paramo
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fleming's Songs for the Deaf is everything I want in a short story collection: witty, intelligent, profound, light, and humorous, all in the right proportions. And it doesn't stop there. Songs for the Deaf contains stories laden with humanity such as Cloud Reader and Weighing of the Heart; family sagas heavy with dysfunction and reality such as Chomolungma; love stories such as In the Shadow of the World's Greatest Monument to Love; and of course, Song for the Deaf, a story that will make you fo ...more
Karyl
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not one for short stories, but when I saw this at my library and read the back blurb, I had to have it. Unfortunately, I had to digest it a little more slowly than I wished to, as real life interfered a bit, but this book is an amazing little gem. As I finished each story, I would think to myself, "OK, that one was my favorite," only for it to be supplanted by the following story. I love Fleming's creativity and imagination; he does things with his stories I'd never seen done by an author be ...more
Phillippe Diederich
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A joy to read. So well written and funny. Amazing imagination and endings that blindsided me. Literary books and short stories can be a bit dull and all about pretty and fancy writing. This book is refreshing. The stories are exactly that: stories. Pick up a copy and let Fleming take you on bizarre journeys that will have you smiling while scratching your head with wonder. I highly recommend it if you want a fun, clever read.
Aaron Coder
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Miraculously buoyant hitchhikers. Dysfunction at the top of the world. Smitten extraterrestrials. An annotated Second Coming on the basketball court. Adventurous readers take note: John Henry Fleming has redrawn the lines of the contemporary short story using graceful strokes of wit and insight. This is fiction that does what it shouldn’t, and it gets away with it beautifully.
Susan Michalski
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved the dark humor of these stories. The ones that really resonated for me were the "The Day of Our Lord's Triumph." I could not stop laughing the whole time I was reading it.It totally captured the world of the adolecent darwinism and took it to Biblical proportion! "Weighing of the Heart" was the kind of story I wish I had written. In that story everything is working: the characters are compelling and quirky and perfectly balanced, the metaphors encompassed in the characters are rich and c ...more
Vanessa Blakeslee
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This collection won me over from the very beginning, with the story "Cloud Reader." Absolutely breathtaking in its lyrical prose and subject matter, this story stayed with me long after I turned the last page. As a fellow Burrow Press author I've read with John on several occasions now, and his stories always keep me hooked, ringing fresh and true -- not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. Fleming is a spinner of tall tales, but most of all, a humorist. Take, for instance, "Chomolungma," in which a ...more
Renee Rominger
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
-Book received via Goodreads Giveaway-

This is a gem, truly. As soon as I had a moment to crack this open I was up until the early morning finishing it. It's that kind of collection that makes you really jealous that your imagination pales in comparison but you're just glad to have had the pleasure of reading it. As soon as I finished one story I was so eager to begin the next to see where I'd be transported to & who I would meet. Even with the wide variety (Alien sex! Begrudging angst-filled Mou
...more
Rita Ciresi
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fans of fabulists such as Russell Edson will thoroughly enjoy John Henry Fleming's collection of off-kilter tales, Songs for the Deaf. These lines from "Weighing of the Heart" sum up Fleming's talent for taking us where we do not expect to go:

[she] asks where I'm headed.
"Generally speaking," I say, "nowhere at all. But I can be persuaded to alter my route."

Route-altering is what these stories are all about. My personal favorite is the title story, "Songs for the Deaf," which takes a whimsical l
...more
Danita Berg
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Easily my favorite book by my former professor. One of those rare reads that make you sigh a little when you finish the last story, both because it was so captivating and because there's not another story to keep your nose in the book.
Michael
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Imaginative and entertaining, Songs for the Deaf is an impressive collection.
Carla
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a terrific collection of short stories!
Rob Saunders
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful and transportative writing. Compelling and interesting stories. Though mildly, debateably weird, the plots and characters are satisfyingly grounded and plausible. An enjoyable and entertaining read. Highly recommended.
Greg
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great used bookstore find. The collection reminds me a bit of cross between Louise Erdrich and Kurt Vonnegut with just a tinge of Murakami.
Leandra
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In John Henry Fleming’s collection of stories, Songs for the Deaf, he discusses a wide spectrum of human grief and ignorance by setting characters in various extremes. The extremes could be in reference to setting, physical abilities, or narrative voice. In a humorous retelling of a basketball pick-up game between adolescents, the narrator describes the events that transpire in “The Day of Our Lord’s Triumph” as a religious experience. In “Chomolungma,” a dysfunctional family attempts to mend ol ...more
Jimmy Mcnulty
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fleming’s prose is akin to George Saunders both in oddball subject matter and satiric wit; as the cover implies, there is plenty of magical realism to be found in Fleming’s works. Burrow Press has done a wonderful job presenting his gorgeous book, though I do wonder if they chose the best story to open with. Some of the shorts are not always successful in taking an experimental premise and running with it, but others succeed ten-fold, presenting plenty of heart, intelligence, and comedy along th ...more
Raewyn
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: hclib
Title story is awesome. The rest feels choppy in comparison.
Margaret
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very entertaining collection of stories.
Harold Norman
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Mar 23, 2015
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