When the university merged his Department of English with Linguistics, professor Desmond Bates took early retirement, but he is not enjoying it. He misses the purposeful routine of the academic year, and has lost his appetite for research. is wife Winifred's late-flowering career goes from strength to strength, reducing his role to that of escort and househusband, while the rejuvenation of her appearance makes him uneasily conscious of the age gap between them. he monotony of his days is relieved only by wearisome journeys to London to check on the welfare of his eighty-nine year old father, an ex dance musician who stubbornly refuses to leave the house he is patently unable to live in with safety. ut these discontents are nothing compared to the affliction of hearing loss, of which he first became aware in his forties, and which has steadily worsened since. It is now a constant source of domestic friction and social embarrassment, leading Desmond into continual mistakes, misunderstandings, follies and faux pas. Archetypically, he observes, deafness is comic, as blindness is tragic, but for the deaf person himself, it is no joke. It is Desmond's deafness which inadvertently inv
David Lodge's novels include Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, Therapy, Thinks... and Author, Author. He has also written stage plays and screenplays, and several books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction, Consciousness and the Novel and, most recently, The Year of Henry James.