Customer Reviews for

The Sign for Drowning: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013


    This book leaves you thinking days after you read it. It is a book that takes you places within one's spirit. As Anna is thinking about feelings, i found myself saying "Yeah...that's how i think and feel". There is tremendous depth to her writing. It is at times a difficult book given the strong feelings on delicate subjects but it is a really great read.

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  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Precise language and ability to capture her characters┬┐ emotional lives with insightful and telling detail.

    You might think of several reasons for learning sign language, but you probably haven¿t thought of it as a way to communicate with the dead. That¿s what 8-year-old Anna Levy tries to do after her younger sister Megan drowns on the family¿s Cape Cod vacation. <BR/><BR/>¿Nobody said Megan was beyond even silent words. I learned sign language. I wasn¿t told that death is farther than that.¿ Desperate for a way to talk to Megan and reverse the past, Anna enters a private world in which sign becomes a secret language and a metaphor for communication with memory and her own inner self. Over the years, she outgrows this idea and eventually uses her ASL as the director of a center for deaf children in New York.<BR/><BR/>Anna¿s asides on the nuances of sign language and deaf culture can be a pleasure to read, as when she notes, ¿Of course sign language can accommodate lies, but I am certain that the deaf lie less than hearing people.¿<BR/><BR/>Her portrayal of the deaf community is strong and unsentimental. But the idea of sign language or deafness as something mystical might not sit well with readers with a skeptical eye for disability appearing as anything but a physical condition. <BR/><BR/>Learned speech and lip reading take on other meanings here as well. Anna decides to take her adopted daughter Adrea to France for a six-week course in speech therapy. Although Anna, and Stolzman, understand the controversy over imposing adaptations to the hearing world on deaf children, Adrea¿s new skills are accepted by others in the community, and her efforts at speech are presented as symbols of her personal growth. <BR/><BR/>The real reward in The Sign for Drowning is Stolzman¿s precise language and her ability to capture her characters¿ emotional lives with insightful and telling detail. She explores the familiar ground of grief, family relationships, and self-doubt with sensitivity and intelligence. <BR/><BR/>-Rebecca Donnelly

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  • Posted October 23, 2008

    A New Favorite

    Well, I've just finished Rachel Stolzman's The Sign for Drowning, and am in the stunned place an outstanding story leaves you. It is a book that I couldn't put down and then read more and more slowly as I approached and tried to delay its inevitable end. It is A Favorite, absolutely, and one that I'll read again. <BR/><BR/>I mean, I want to adopt a deaf child. I want to adopt Adrea. <BR/><BR/>What I love about Stolzman's voice is its grace. She maintains a poetic facility and restraint throughout A Sign for Drowning, and is worth studying to see how it's done when it's done right. No word is wasted, and nothing sounds precious. The reader is left to experience. And what a story! It moves, it surprises, it takes you in immediately. <BR/><BR/>Rachel Stolzman is a very talented writer, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    Exceptional book!

    In The Sign for Drowning, Rachel Stolzman weaves a story of love, loss and hope. A story that will touch readers to the depths of their soul. A story that challenges the reader to embrace places within that are hidden, places that need to be jostled, nooks which are always present in our being that leave us wondering about life's events and how these events shaped our lives and the lives of those around us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2008

    Beautiful book!

    This is a poetic and moving book. The story of Anna's girlhood loss is deeply moving. The event of her sister's death is told in a beautifully rendered prologue. Most of the book centers on Anna and her adopted deaf daughter, Adrea and I was totally transported into their world. Their love is palatable and it is a joy to watch them move through life together. This is a book that will keep you reading and that you will remember after you put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2008

    The Sing for Drowning tells a soulful story

    In Rachel Stolzman's book, The Sing for Drowning the reader immediately becomes entranced by Anna's story. The author's writing is easy to read due to its poetic undertones. Stolzman captures and explores the emotions of death, motherhood and love in a way that allows the reader to embrace the story. The descriptions of Anna's feelings towards Adrea are quite remarkable. As I read the story I continually was wondering and asking myself questions about the Anna, the death of her sister, Adrea and Anna's relationship with her mother. Stolzman wrote a story that answers all the questions and leaves the reader wanting more.

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