I've been quite good lately in trying to keep up with the various bits of planned reading for both the NTTVBG and the Waterstone's 50 of the decade reading lists. I also have to admit though to a guilty secret of going into Waterstone's and making lists in my little notebook of recent releases that I want to read. You know, those books that they have laid out on tables just inside the door which make it so difficult to leave without purchasing anything.
I normally save my book buying until I'm in one of the local charity shops, or online if it's something I simply must have but can't find elsewhere. For once though I added something on to my list a few weeks ago and then found it in the charity shop down the road only ten minutes later. Fate like that couldn't be ignored and hence it had to come home with me.
I've been a fan of David Lodge's work for years. I somehow discovered him whilst a teenager and have been going back and reading various things from his back catalogue ever since. What surprises me somewhat is that this is the only DL book that I've read since writing this blog. It just goes to show that I was overdue a trip into his world again!
Deaf Sentence takes us back to the edges of the university campus where many of his later books have been set. This time though we're with retired professor of linguistics Desmond Bates who has found that he is going deaf. There's no obvious cause to his deafness other than the unavoidable onset of old age. This doesn't make it any easier for him to come to terms with though, or any less annoying when it starts to impact on his day to day life with wife Fred (Winifred). As well as having to cope with this onsetting disability Des also needs to deal with his ageing, hearing-impared father, and the female student that he accidentally offered to help with her PhD on suicide notes. Quite a combination!
David Lodge somehow managed to wrap all of these strands together into a story that is laugh out loud funny in places, but also moved me to tears at one point. The ability to do that in one book is a skill in itself. Some very moving subjects are covered incredibly sensitively, whilst also maintaining that edge of humour that many people rely on to see them through.
Overall this was a thoroughly fantastic read and well worth going "off-list" for. Now I just need to ensure that I'm up to date on progression through everything else on my list before Mr C and I head off for a friend's wedding. An excuse to curl up with a book – what more do I need in life?