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Roger RosenblattSometimes, when one is plowing ahead in a novel—a very good novel, containing all that a very good novel should contain (a character to cling to, an original controlling device, a significant theme)—a single, innocent word rises from the text and clarifies what one has been feeling all along. In David Lodge's Deaf Sentence, the word is "draining." It appears casually in "a long, draining day," but therein lies the whole ebbing life of retired linguistics professor Desmond Bates. Throughout the novel, one wonders: Can his life be stopped from going down the drain?
—The Washington Post