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The Hearing Test

Eliza Barry Callahan

Regular price $24.69


The Hearing Test depicts an inner-life both muted and intensified by the narrator's sudden deafness. A constellation of sights and sounds, conversations and theories which hold loss and attention in strange regard. It's eerie and it's weird; it's funny and it's poetic. A slim gem of a debut. -RG

A young woman reorients her relationship to the world in the wake of sudden deafness in this mesmerizing debut novel for readers of Rachel Cusk, Clarice Lispector, and Fleur Jaeggy.

When the narrator of The Hearing Test, an artist in her late twenties, awakens one morning to a deep drone in her right ear, she is diagnosed with Sudden Deafness, but is offered no explanation for its cause. As the specter of total deafness looms, she keeps a record of her year—a score of estrangement and enchantment, of luck and loneliness, of the chance occurrences to which she becomes attuned—while living alone in a New York City studio apartment with her dog.

Through a series of fleeting and often humorous encounters—with neighbors, an ex-lover, doctors, strangers, family members, faraway friends, and with the lives and works of artists, filmmakers, musicians, and philosophers—making meaning  becomes a form of consolation and curiosity, a form of survival. 

At once a rumination on silence and a novel on seeing, The Hearing Test is a work of vitalizing intellect and playfulness which marks the arrival of a major new literary writer with a rare command of form, compression, and intent.

Hardcover | 176 pages | 5.25" x 8.27"