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Deaf Sentence

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,353 Ratings  ·  495 Reviews
When the university merged his Department of Linguistics with English, Professor Desmond Bates took early retirement, but he is not enjoying it. He misses the purposeful routine of the academic year, and has lost his appetite for research.

His wife Winifred's late-flowering career goes from strength to strength, reducing his role to that of escort and househusband, while th
...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Harvill Secker (first published 2008)
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David
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
David Lodge is not a flashy writer, but he is an extremely good one. Superficially, his predilection for working the same, relatively narrow, ground (he is a master of the academic novel) might seem constricting. But each of his novels delivers fresh insights, with his signature blend of intelligence, wit, and genuine affection for his characters.

"Deaf Sentence" is no exception. Although it's not as hilariously funny as some of his earlier books, it is - like all of his work - compulsively read
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Jan-Maat
Jul 23, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of novels
Recommended to Jan-Maat by: My Mum
Death sentence, deaf sentence. Rutirement, retirement. That is this novel in four words. A serious comedy with knowingly laboured puns.

Since the narrator is a retired professor of linguistics who is going deaf this must be a post-campus novel. The narrator's professional knowledge allows him to understand why he can't distinguish any more between the sound of different consonants. Its not quite Beethoven, as the narrator admits but the situation still has its own poignancy.

In addition to this th
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Nuno Chaves
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A Vida em Surdina”, foi o primeiro livro que li no âmbito do projecto Roda dos Livros, que basicamente consiste em fazer circular os nossos livros pelos membros do grupo e depois comparar opiniões e tentar descobrir o que de semelhante ou nem por isso descobrimos em determinada obra, chegando por vezes a reparar em pormenores que passaram despercebidos a quem o leu anteriormente. Uma espécie de leitura conjunta mas em separado, sem prazos, obrigações ou correrias, apenas ao sabor do prazer da l ...more
Leo
‘Deafness is comic, blindness is tragic,’


The first thing I noticed about Deaf Sentence is that its first sentence draws out for 24 (Kindle) lines. That’s a heck of a lot of lines. And that’s was a heck of a lot of fun. David Lodge sure likes to play with word-order, puns and linguistic stuff and I giggle at the sight of things like that. What can I say? I’m fascinated by languages and their quirks. When I’m reading a book, I’m constantly checking the dictionary for new words or etymologies of wo
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Jeff
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely and beautifully written novel about a hard-of-hearing linguist trying to navigate through the noises and silences of his life. These noises and silences are at turns confounding & illuminating, disturbing & comforting, and tragic & comic. Lodge takes his time telling this story and some people may not like the pace of the book, which can meander seemingly aimless at times. The beauty, nuance, and insight in this story lay in these perambulations, though. All in all, a l ...more
Antonis
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-possession
Πολύ ωραίο βιβλίο. Ο Λοτζ καταφέρνει σε κάθε μυθιστόρημά του να μιλήσει για την ανθρώπινη κατάσταση χωρίς μεγαλοστομίες και μελοδραματισμούς, ακόμη κι όταν γράφει για θέματα στενόχωρα, όπως εδώ που τον απασχολούν η βαρηκοΐα, τα γηρατειά και ο θάνατος. Ανθρώπινα αστείο και συγκινητικό ταυτόχρονα.
Christi
Feb 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What happened to David Lodge? I used to love his witty sense of humor and ability to capture the world of academia, but this novel is just awful. It's as if he took all of his notes and diaries, collected various story possibilities and topics he had found interesting, and threw them together with a few old ideas for characters and plots to make one jumbled mess of a story. I think it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't. I think it was supposed to be profound, but it really wasn't. Don't was ...more
Clif Hostetler
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This novel provides an interesting story within a setting that describes the living situation of many in today's "boomer generation"—newly retired with an older parent in failing health along with adult children and grandchildren with their own needs. In this story Desmond Bates, the main character, is in a second marriage with step children and older parents on both sides which enhances the potential for relationship issues.

Desmond is a retired linguistics professor who is plagued with hearing
...more
Caroline
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, novels
I planned to have this book as a bedtime read, but it was hopeless in that capacity, I kept sitting up in bed and hooting with laughter – not a good recipe for pre-sleep soothing. Once I had taken the book downstairs and could enjoy it in daylight though, there was no stopping me. What a fantastic book! It has several strong themes.

• It discusses what it is like to be going deaf, knowing that the end result is going to be absolute deafness. It does this with humour, sadness and insight. I learnt
...more
Janice
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lodge's portrayal of hearing loss is amazingly specific and illustrates both the farcical and painful sides of this disability. And the father-son relationship points to how maddening aging parents can be to children who aren't in such fine shape either. The novel takes a surprisingly poignant, moving turn as it approaches its end. The best novel David Lodge has written in the years (in my opinion).
Oscar
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, mainstream, míos, drama
David Lodge está considerado como uno de los mejores escritores de humor inglés de nuestro tiempo. Es imposible e inevitable no echar alguna carcajada con sus libros. Su tema favorito son las novelas de campus, es decir, aquellos que tienen como protagonista la vida universitaria y los líos en los que se menten los profesores, tanto con sus alumnos como con sus familias.

En 'La vida en sordina' (en el original 'Deaf Sentence', jugando ya con las palabras), Desmond Bates, catedrático en lingüístic
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Iain Snelling
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Professor Desmond Bates, a retired linguist, has to cope with his elderley father's decline, an unbalanced PhD student, and an increasing detachment from his wife whose career as a design retailer is taking off just as his finishes, all in the context of his deafness which makes social contact increasingly difficut. Written mainly as a journal, the book is beautifully observed, self-effacingly funny but with deep pathos. Several issues ar resolved by the end, but you do ...more
Howard
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as funny as his best academic novels (Small World, Changing Places, etc), though still containing a number of laugh out loud moments, Lodge here writes movingly about deafness, retirement, aging, and death. His prose is elegant and powers of observation often acute, though I didn't find the visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau particularly strong.
Elinor
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You just can't go wrong with David Lodge -- he is such an articulate and amusing writer. His main character is a retired linguistics professor whose rather curmudgeonly observations on modern society are hilarious, along with his descriptions of age-related hearing loss and coping with an even more aged father. One sub-plot involves a manipulative young grad student who wants to seduce him. Then there are his relationships with his ambitious wife, plus assorted children and step-children. There ...more
Inês
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se não tivesse imposto a mim mesma um limite de leitura diária (a bem dos meus estudos) teria devorado este livro. Ainda assim, a verdade é que excedi esse limite umas quantas vezes porque foi impossível resistir a mais algumas páginas. A história é dinâmica, bem narrada, está bem escrita e (importante!) bem traduzida. Fiquei com muita curiosidade para ler mais coisas do David Lodge.
Cheryl
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sometimes bitingly funny, sometimes sharply and unexpectedly touching, this remarkable book works on every level.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Feb 14, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Ian
Shelves: wit, lit-brits
Writing style compared to Alan Bennett
Célia
Confesso que nunca tinha lido nenhum livro deste autor (julgo mesmo que nem sequer tinha ainda ouvido o seu nome), por isso, e depois de ler algumas opiniões positivas, foi com algum alguma expectativa que iniciei esta leitura.

David Lodge faz-nos entrar na mente de Desmond Bates, um ex-professor universitário com problemas sérios de surdez, que está a braços com a sua recente entrada na reforma e consequente monotonia, ao mesmo tempo que lida com a sua bem sucedida esposa, com o seu pai idoso e
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Kathryn Lance
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite its flaws, I loved this book. In fact, I almost feel as if Professor Lodge wrote it just for me. I studied stylistics in graduate school many years ago, and not only did we use one of his scholarly books as a text, the protagonist of Deaf Sentence is a retired professor of stylistics. But most importantly, the protagonist (Desmond) is nearly deaf, and all these years later so am I. My favorite parts of the book were the comically--but painfully--described vicissitudes of living with bad ...more
Lance Greenfield
The story seems to have been built around personal anecdotes of the author combined with the antics of characters that he has conjured up in his imagination. There is nothing wrong with that, and I would say that this approach is fairly common amongst good story-tellers.

The book is very amusing. It relates some of the problems that the hard of hearing can encounter, and the consequential misunderstandings that can ensue, and the deliberate escapes that somebody who is known to be deaf can engine
...more
Sara Kaddouri
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well , i finished this book exactly at 4h30 AM and it is the kind of book that catches you to finish it, i've ever read a book more real than this one, for me it wasn't funny it was very real maybe talking about real life is that funny cauz the situations that we are confronting daily, most of them, are funny for the others, ohh yes life is funny or to be specific it is ridiculous.
i felt the pain of Desmond,he was in my mind ,i lived his live while reading the book, deafness isn't comic, what he
...more
Sandra Lensen
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book very much. I chose it because of the title and synopsis referring to someone going deaf and I thought the book was going to be mainly about that. While it is of course a recurring topic, I would not describe this book as mainly about going deaf. Instead I found it a moving book about getting older, how that affect your life and the typical situations people face.

It was (again, I might say... I keep on running into this...) marketed as a very funny book, but I didn't find it al
...more
David
Jul 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lodge can usually be depended upon to deliver both entertainment and a little intellectual stimulation but I was disappointed by this book. The central plot device - the protagonist is menaced by a mysterious postgrad - peters out without a satisfactory resolution, and the reflections on deafness, linguistics and death seem tacked on and are more like a collection of (not particularly interesting) essays than an integrated part of a novel.
Ala
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very different David Lodge - unlike quite a few of his earlier books I have read, this one gradually shifts from humorous and comical to solemn. While you do get quite a few good laughs, there are some scenes that leave you profoundly moved (coping with disability, taking care of an elderly parent).
Don
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of detail about linguistics. Good insider's view. Great on academics, as usual. Straight up on aging and death. Some great puns.
John
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, humour
The book starts out with a retired professor trying to cope with his diminishing hearing and dwindling sex life. As a result of his deafness he becomes involved with a young manipulative Phd student who is doing her thesis based on suicide notes. Later the professor has to deal with his 90 year old father whose dementia is increasing while his health is decreasing. The book is often humorous, sad or poignant. All in all I really enjoyed this slice of life book.
Maureen
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is laugh aloud funny if you are deaf, as I am, or live with a deaf person. My partner found it just a bit too hilarious for my liking. But it is much more than this, for a reader of a certain age it covers the issues we are all thinking about: depletion of our relevance if we have retired, the slow but inexorable decline of sex lives, the deterioration and death of our parents. This reads like a blog written by a funny, human, interesting friend, with similar views and attitudes to tho ...more
Simon Mcleish
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in September 2009.

The title by itself makes a lot of what Deaf Sentence is about clear. That it is about deafness, how it feels to gradually lose hearing, how deafness imprisons the sufferer in a solitary world where old pleasures become impossible or difficult; how there will be humour in the story; and even that the grim pun deaf/death (also, of course, a pair of words a deaf person would find hard to distinguish) will be revisited throughout. The use of pa
...more
M
Oct 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first taste of David Lodge and I hope it won't be my last. Ultimately, aside from some places where I felt it was draggy or over the top, this book was smart, funny and thought provoking (if a tad too depressing).
The title alone, Deaf Sentence, is laced with entendres - primarily, the idea of a Death Sentence being given in form of 'premature' deafness if there is such a thing, in that one is essentially dying a slow and intevitable death or descent into utter isolation. In addition,
...more
Malcolm McLean
It's a polished, very professionally written book, with convincing characters drawn from Northern University campus life. It's much lighter on the sarcasm than some of Lodge's other work; Butterworth, the chief academic antagonist, is by his own admission a bit of a Bill Clinton, but there's no real tension. Desmond Bates is retired and going deaf, when Alex Loom, Butterworth's female postgrad who is doing a study of suicide notes, persuades him to take an interest in helping her with her PhD th ...more
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THE LISTS: Novel #2 10 10 Jan 20, 2013 10:30AM  
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556 followers
Professor David Lodge is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was Chairman of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, and is the author of numerous works of li
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“But young parents, educated middle-class ones anyway, are very jumpy these days, they get so much information from the media about all the things that could be wrong with their child - autism, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, allergies, obesity and so on - they’re in a constant state of panic, watching their offspring like hawks for warning signs.” 0 likes
“What?’ he said. I’m sure he heard me perfectly well, but like most deaf people he’s got in the habit of saying ‘what?’ automatically to every conversational gambit - I notice myself doing it sometimes.” 0 likes
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