Thursday, July 25, 2019

Clear-eyed observation…

 'I will never hear my father's voice': Ilya Kaminsky on deafness and escaping the Soviet Union | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Kaminsky himself lost most of his hearing after contracting mumps aged four in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. “The Soviet doctor said it was just a cold and sent us away,” he says, without self-pity. This life-changing medical misjudgment would connect him with history in ways that he is still processing. “It is on the day Brezhnev dies that my mother learns of my deafness, and the odyssey of doctors and hospitals begins,” he wrote recently. “My mother shouts at senior citizens in public transport to promptly get up please and give her sick child a seat; my father, embarrassed, hides on the other side of the trolley. I cannot hear a word … Brezhnev is dead. Strangers wear black clothes in public. Thus begins the history of my deafness.”

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