Born on the shores of Lake Ontario, Grania O'Neill suffers a childhood illness that destroys her hearing. Grania's life without sound is also a life bounded by a powerful family love that tries to protect her from suffering. But when it becomes clear that Grania can no longer thrive among the hearing, her family sends her to the Ontario School for the Deaf. There, protected from the often unforgiving world outside, she learns sign language and speech. And there she meets Jim Lloyd, a hearing man, and the two, in wonderment, begin to create a new emotional vocabulary that encompasses both sound and silence. But a war is raging on the other side of the world. Only two weeks after their wedding, Jim must leave home to serve as a stretcher-bearer on the blood-soaked battlefields of Flanders. During this long and brutal war of attrition, Jim and Grania are pulled to the centre of cataclysmic events that will alter civilisation forever.
Frances Itani is the award-winning author of four acclaimed short story collections and three poetry collections. She has also written a children's book, and was poetry editor of Canadian Forum for several years. She grew up in Quebec, has travelled extensively, and now divides her time between Ottawa and Geneva. DEAFENING is her first novel.