Listen: A Memoir
Listen is a memoir of voices, the voices of parents that linger in the ears of children until the day when those children are able to sound their own note. A domineering father and a professor of languages and literature in the 1950s and '60s, Victor has four women trapped in his orbit-his long-suffering wife and his three well-behaved daughters. "Teacher, poet, translator" is how he wants his gravestone to read, and in life he is dedicated to passing on to his family the great cultural achievements of western civilization-poetry, philosophy, religion, music, art. But he leaves darker gifts as well, in particular to his daughter Wendy the most traumatic legacy of all: incest.
A major achievement and a stunning debut, Listen is about how families shape their memories and how even things that are never spoken about have potent echoes. It's also a memoir that chronicles a poet's apprenticeship to words, the story of a daughter who listened and who, with the gift for poetry her father gave her, learned to translate the darkest secrets of their past.
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