SOUNDS OF SILENCE by Judith Richards


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An improbable tale about family skeletons and therapeutic miracle-making, which, however, takes some instructive byways into the nature and use of sign language for the deaf. Aramenta, a widow in her sixties, returns to her Alabama mansion after her mother's death, acquires an empathic if wily lawyer to straighten out a confusing will, and hires Virgil, a young deaf mute, as handyman. But there is very obviously something nasty thumping away in the basement. This turns out to be Aramenta's 31-year-old son, whom her late mother had spirited away at birth. ""Baby,"" in addition to being a deaf mute, is also, after years of imprisonment, plainly mad. In order to reclaim the poor sod, Aramenta locks Virgil in the basement with instructions to tame Baby. Untrained Virgil trains Baby, Annie Sullivan fashion, fully cognizant also of the man's autism. Filmy, but the author's transcription of ""signing"" conversations is marginally intriguing.

Pub Date: June 7th, 1977
Publisher: Putnam