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27 December 2009

The Sign For Drowning by Rachel Stolzman- A Book Review

Title: The Sign For Drowning
Author: Rachel Stolzman
Publisher: Trumpeter; Reprint edition
Publication Date:
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN: 978-1590307205
Genre: Fiction


About the Book:

Anna has grown up haunted by her younger sister's death. In the life she constructs as a barrier against the emotional wreckage of her family tragedy, Anna settles comfortably into a career as a teacher of deaf children. But a challenge arrives—in the form of a young girl. Adrea's disarming vulnerability and obvious need for love offer Anna the possibility of reconnecting with the world around her—if she has the courage to open her heart.

In this debut novel, Rachel Stolzman has crafted a moving and poetic witness to love's power to transcend grief, pain, and the constraints of human language. The Sign for Drowning is a poignant story of loss and the unexpected occasions of grace that enable us to heal from it and grow beyond it.

My Review:

The Sign for Drowning is a deeply and profoundly poetic as well as lyrical novel about love and loss and the beauty of family. Anna watched helplessly as her younger sister drowned and her way of coping as an eight year old was by learning sign language. She believed at such a tender age that she could communicate with her sister through sign language. As an adult, Anna moved to New York and began working as a teacher at the Deaf and Hearing Center where she dotes on the young students she is in charge of while relishing in the solitude and the safety in the sameness of the days. One day Anna meets Andrea, whom she mistakenly refers to as Adrea, a five-year-old orphan, who weaves her way into Anna's heart and life. As Anna grows into the role of a single mother of a deaf child, Anna struggles with loving, learning to live in the present and coming to terms with the profound pain of losing her sister. Compounding Anna's healing process is her lack of relationship with her mother. As a new mother herself, the pain and isolation becomes more pronounced despite Anna's father's unconditional love, as she craves the love from the one person who cannot offer her what she needs, her mother. Stolzman's first novel is one that will grab the reader's attention and hold it throughout the entire novel. The Sign for Drowning is an amasing novel about the fragility of life and finding oneself through healing. This book will stay with the reader long after the book has been closed.

About the Author:

Rachel Stolzman received her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has won several awards and her poetry has appeared in numerous journals. This is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn.

I received a free copy of The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman from her publisher. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Alyce said...

I have been hearing really good things about this novel. I'm sure I will read it eventually because I am fascinated by all things having to do with languages.

Laughing Stars aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds like a terrific novel. I enjoyed your beautifully written review.

Diane said...

This one is on my wish list. Your review really was great; thanks

Jan said...

I loved this book. My son's partner of 5+ years is deaf. He recently got hearing aids that let him hear some sounds but not language. They just left after visiting for the holidays. I was surprised at how large and deep the deaf culture was and even more surprised to find out there was a thriving deaf/gay culture.
This book is an interesting and entertaining introduction into the deaf world. I highly recommend it.