Song Without Words

praise for

Song Without Words

“[A] brilliant and thoroughly engaging, if often painful account....Throughout Song Without Words, the author candidly describes his dark, even catastrophic moments of perceived failure—failure to hear, failure to understand, and interpret correctly, failure to connect, failure to keep up—but despite all this, the book sings a long, clear note of success. It is not a complaint but an exploration, not only of one man's unique path to self-knowledge but also of the nature of communication itself....To read Song Without Words is to appreciate the poetry and clarity of Shea's language, resonant with hard-won experience, wisdom, and stunning courage.”

—Reeve Lindbergh, The Washington Post

Both a work of literary art and a manual for understanding the difficult world Shea inhabits…Readers are lucky that Shea took the time to write this masterful memoir, which brings us into a hidden world so few have ever visited. Song without Words proves that memoir, at its lyrical best, can be a truly wonderful and inspirational literary genre.”

—Chuck Leddy, The Boston Globe

“The moving, poignant account of how a brilliant lawyer came to terms with the midlife discovery of his own partial deafness...The book is a powerful expression of loss, acceptance and the very human need to communicate. Shea's narrative derives its true power from the eloquence and intelligence with which he illuminates a world that may be unfamiliar to many readers.”


“A brilliant window into the largely unknown world of the partially deaf: riveting to read, and illuminating at every level.”

Antonia Fraser, author of

Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter


“Promises to open a new area of research bearing on our theories of how human language is perceived, processed, and understood.”
Stephen R. Anderson,

Yale University


“Eloquent, engaging, circumspect, and scientifically and
historically informed—in a word, masterful.”

Harlan Lane, author of

The Wild Boy of Aveyron


“Highly informative for those who really cannot appreciate
the impact of hearing loss on daily life.”

A. James Hudspeth,Rockefeller University


“An unusual opportunity to share directly[Shea’s] lifelong
experiences in coping with the constant misunderstanding of the spoken word—a common daily occurrence for an estimated 38 million people with hearing loss in the US today.”

Nancy Kingsley,

National Association of Late-Deafened Adults

“Gerald Shea’s story is fascinating,heartbreaking,
heroic, and relentlessly riveting.”

—Louis Begley,

author of Wartime Lies

"With candor,insight, and considerable charm and wit,

Gerald Shea has explored the little-known world of the partially deaf, a world of confused language and identity.”
Andrew Solomon, author of
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
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Copyright © 2013 by Da Capo Press
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