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1 Hawthorne Travel Writing- Africa and Middle East

The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa

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The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa Cover

ISBN13: 9780805082104
ISBN10: 0805082107
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A young man's quest to reconcile his deafness in an unforgiving world leads to a remarkable sojourn in a remote African village that pulsates with beauty and violence

 

These are hearing aids. They take the sounds of the world and amplify them." Josh Swiller recited this speech to himself on the day he arrived in Mununga, a dusty village on the shores of Lake Mweru. Deaf since a young age, Swiller spent his formative years in frustrated limbo on the sidelines of the hearing world, encouraged by his family to use lipreading and the strident approximations of hearing aids to blend in. It didn't work. So he decided to ditch the well-trodden path after college, setting out to find a place so far removed that his deafness would become irrelevant.

That place turned out to be Zambia, where Swiller worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years. There he would encounter a world where violence, disease, and poverty were the mundane facts of life. But despite the culture shock, Swiller finally commanded attention--everyone always listened carefully to the white man, even if they didn't always follow his instruction. Spending his days working in the health clinic with Augustine Jere, a chubby, world-weary chess aficionado and a steadfast friend, Swiller had finally found, he believed, a place where his deafness didn't interfere, a place he could call home. Until, that is, a nightmarish incident blasted away his newfound convictions.

At once a poignant account of friendship through adversity, a hilarious comedy of errors, and a gripping narrative of escalating violence, The Unheard is an unforgettable story from a noteworthy new talent.

Review:

"Josh Swiller went to a remote village in Zambia in the early 1990s as a Peace Corps volunteer. His task was to get the local people to dig wells, but he could never get the project going. Nonetheless, Swiller, who had been deaf since birth, felt at home in the village. He learned some Bemba. People spoke to him slowly and directly; there was little background noise to distort the sounds he received... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

A young mans quest to reconcile his deafness in an unforgiving world leads to a remarkable sojourn in a remote African village, in this poignant account that is, at times, a hilarious comedy of errors as well as a gripping narrative of escalating violence.

About the Author

A graduate of Yale University, Josh Swiller has had a wide variety of careers: forest ranger, carpenter, slipper salesman, raw food chef, Zen monk, journalist, and teacher, among other things. In August 2005, he had successful surgery for a cochlear implant and partially recovered his hearing. Swiller now speaks often on issues facing mainstreamed deaf individuals, and works at a hospice in Brooklyn, New York, where he lives.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, May 31, 2010 (view all comments by Shoshana)
A problematic but potentially useful memoir. Swiller recounts his time in Zambia, where as a Peace Corps volunteer he appears to have violated ethical principles, flouted standards of cultural sensitivity and appropriateness, and generally been a cowboy. I say that the book is "useful" because I am going to use it in an ethics class as a casebook of how not to behave as a professional representing a service organization. That Swiller is deaf raises interesting questions about intersection of disability, identity, and behavior. Unfortunately, these questions aren't answered here.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805082104
Author:
Swiller, Josh
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Subject:
Deaf
Subject:
Americans
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Africa - General
Subject:
Zambia Description and travel.
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Africa, south
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20000931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
4 photos; 1 map
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.48 x 4.79 x 0.79 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Ear Nose and Throat
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Hearing and Ears
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Languages » Deaf Studies » Deaf Culture
Travel » Africa » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Africa and Middle East

The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Holt Rinehart and Winston - English 9780805082104 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A young mans quest to reconcile his deafness in an unforgiving world leads to a remarkable sojourn in a remote African village, in this poignant account that is, at times, a hilarious comedy of errors as well as a gripping narrative of escalating violence.
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