Review of David Lodge’s “Deaf Sentence”

I have enjoyed David Lodge’s writing ever since I watched a U.K mini-series based on his novel, “Nice Work”. After watching this entertaining duel between a working class bloke played by Warren Clarke of “Dalziel and Pascoe” fame and a snooty university type, I couldn’t wait to read the original novel.

It was terrific. Novelist, David Lodge is an English professor with a wicked sense of humour. After reading “Nice Work” I went on to read every one of Lodge’s novels and I delve into them from time to time.

Lodge is best when he’s angry or hungry and struggling to make ends meet. He’s a rebel who needs a cause and so I found his earlier novels more absorbing than his later ones because he was still tilting at windmills then. Unfortunately, following his success as a novelist, Lodge wrote some novels that I found less inspiring. Gone was the hunger, the passion. He had made it and success brought with it too much ease, perhaps.

Nevertheless, I remained a fan and I’m pleased I did because his latest work, “Deaf Sentence”, has regained the verve. This time he is angry because of his growing deafness. It irritates him and those around him. People feel sorry for the blind, but they tend to be amused or dismissive of those who have trouble hearing. Lodge is eloquent at describing the frustration experienced by a former Linguistics Professor (based on himself, he says) who is at a loss after being obliged to retire.

There are family problems, an elderly father, a cold wife and a strangely disturbed young student who comes into his life.

If you think that a book based on impending deafness would not appeal, then you are wrong. Lodge is a master of language and characterisation. He is extremely funny and I hope that people read his novel. It’s definitely one of his best. This is one grumpy old man whom I hope will remain grumpy for our sake.

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