Dead Languages

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Perennial Library, 1990 - Fiction - 243 pages
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A sensitive, perceptive, and much-praised humorous novel, this brilliant coming-of-age story relates the struggles of a boy who stutters so badly that he begins to worship words. Anyone who has had trouble expressing an emotion will identify with Jeremy's affliction and his search for happiness.

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Dead Languages (Graywolf Rediscovery Series)

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In a novel originally published in 1989, Jeremy Zorn has words thrust upon him by his family almost from the moment of his birth. As he grows, a stutter prevents him from correctly pronouncing any of them. His impediment, however, is a metaphor for emotions he is unable to verbalize. Read full review

Dead languages: a novel

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From Billy Budd to Billy Bibbitt, characters tormented by stuttering and thus prevented from expressing their most passionate feelings have played a central role in American literature. But Jeremy ... Read full review


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About the author (1990)

David Shields was born in Los Angeles, California on July 22, 1956. He received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Brown University in 1978 and an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1980. He writes both fiction and nonfiction books. His first novel, Heroes, was published in 1984. His other works include Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, and How Literature Saved My Life. Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity won the PEN/Revson Award and Dead Languages won the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington.

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