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Jellyfish Have No Ears

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529437911

Price: £10.99

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“A captivating experiment on the beauty and elusiveness of meaning, sound and language” TLS

Louise has always felt adrift between communities: not deaf enough to be a part of Deaf culture, not hearing enough to be fully within the hearing world. Hearing, for Louise, is inseparable from reading other people’s lips. Through sight, she perceives words and strings them together like pearls to reconstruct a conversation.

Then an audiology exam shows that most of her hearing has gone, and her doctor suggests a cochlear implant. With this irreversible intervention, Louise would gain a new, synthetic sense of hearing – but she would lose what remains of her natural hearing, which has shaped her unique relationship with the world, full of whispers and shadows.

As she weighs the prospect of surgery, she must also contend with the chaotic reality of her life as she falls in love, suffers through her first job, and steadies herself with friends.

A masterclass in wordplay and language’s possibilities and limitations, this fiercely original debut plunges readers into Louise’s world as she grapples with loss, and considers what she might gain in the process.

Translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman

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A captivating experiment on the beauty and elusiveness of meaning, sound and language
Will a cochlear implant change the way one unforgettable young woman experiences the world? Adèle Rosenfeld's narrator grapples with this question as she navigates work, love, and her own unruly imagination. In lush, startling prose, made vivid by Jeffrey Zuckerman's translation, her agonizing choice becomes relevant to us all
Nell Freudenberger
"Unexpectedly, Adèle Rosenfeld's marvellous novel turns out to be about sounds: fans whirring, sneakers squeaking, cars honking, motorcycles thrumming, but most of all voices making noises that are frustratingly but fascinatingly misunderstood. In Jeffrey Zuckerman's translation, this account of imperfect hearing will take its readers by surprise and teach them new ways of listening
Anne Fadiman
Every mishearing spawns a fiction: the hearer invents words, ideas, and stories to fill in the breaks in communication. Adèle Rosenfeld's brilliant novel rigorously pursues the literary potential of this idea, as her narrator navigates an alternately painful, playful, and hallucinatory linguistic universe that unspools from the growing gaps in her hearing. Jeffrey Zuckerman's marvellous translation of Jellyfish Have No Ears is a complex, funny, and deeply valuable chronicle of 'someone uprooted from language' as she wrestles with the alienation, ambiguity, denial, and possibility that emerge from her new states of being
Andrew Leland