Harper Academic

A Loss for Words

The Story of Deafness in a Family

by Lou Ann Walker

On Sale: 04/06/2021

Price: $15.99

A Loss for Words

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A Loss for Words

The Story of Deafness in a Family

by Lou Ann Walker

On Sale: 04/06/2021

Format:

Price: $15.99

About the Book

"A deeply moving, often humorous, and beautiful account of what it means to be the hearing child of profoundly deaf parents . . . I have rarely read anything on the subject more powerful or poignant than this extraordinary personal account by Lou Ann Walker." — Oliver Sacks

From the time she was a toddler, Lou Ann Walker acted as the ears and voice for her parents, who had lost their hearing at a young age. As soon as she was old enough to speak, her childhood ended, and she immediately assumed the responsibility of interpreter—translating doctors’ appointments and managing her parents’ business transactions. Their family life was warm and loving, but outside the home, they faced a world that misunderstood and often rejected them. 

In this deeply moving memoir, Walker offers us a glimpse of a different world, bringing with it a broader reflection on how parents grow alongside their children and how children learn to navigate the world through the eyes of their parents.

Critical Praise

"Beautifully written and deeply affecting . . . There is humor in [Walker's] recollections but nothing lighthearted in accounts of crude or condescending reactions to her father and mother from indifferent people. Walker is candid in dealing with her own frustrations and the burdens of life with the deaf."
- Publishers Weekly

"A deeply moving, often humorous, and beautiful account of what it means to be the hearing child of profoundly deaf parents . . . I have rarely read anything on the subject more powerful or poignant than this extraordinary personal account by Lou Ann Walker." - Oliver Sacks

"[Walker) describes in moving detail the joys of growing up in a family where the simplest communication was never taken for granted." - Newsweek

"In this remarkable memoir, Walker recreates the pain and the joy of growing up between two worlds: her parents' loving but silent home, and the often confusing world she encountered outside those walls, and of which she was inevitably a part."  - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"So profoundly other is the unhearing culture . . . that moving it into a language we learn by hearing took both gifts and a nearly savage determination." - New York Times Book Review

"Readers will come away from this book informed, deeply moved and full of admiration for Walker's marvelous parents." - People

"In the end, I wanted to cheer Lou Ann Walker for having the gumption to write about a matter so close to her heart, learning to love and accept her parents as they are, not as she wished them to be. This is a gem of a book." - Glamour

"I have never thought hard about this before, but now I see that what deaf people do in sign language is even more mysteriously and specifically, biologically human than speech itself. My respect for the deaf, always high, is now still higher. My awe for the human mind is out of sight." - Lewis Thomas

"I loved A Loss for Words. [The] style is brisk and clear and, it seems to me, never sentimental . . . The Lou Ann who emerges to find her own voice and write this book is a character whom I admire as much as any literary hero."  - Max Apple

"This book is worth reading simply for its celebration of the strength and perseverance of the human spirit and for its account of a woman coming to terms with herself and a family coming to terms with itself." - American Annals of the Deaf

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060914257
  • ISBN 10: 0060914254
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 04/06/2021
  • Trimsize: 5.313 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.505 in (d)
  • Pages: 224
  • List Price: $15.99
  • BISAC1 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / People with Disabilities
  • BISAC2 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Women
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs