Louise Stern - Chattering: Stories
Those of us in the hearing world ponder rarely on the everyday lives of our neighbours in the deaf community, where an ease in communication that we take for granted has a profound, stunting effect in its absence on the social lives of the young deaf. Thus the prospect of a collection of short stories exploring what it is to come of age on the hushed outskirts of a noisy world is an enticing one indeed.
In her debut Louise Stern sets out 12 short stories, both homely and exotic, that promise a window on the fearless exuberance of youth through the foil of permanent silence. Most of the pieces, however, feel flimsy and underdeveloped and despite purporting adventure in colourful locales, they often come out flat and uninspiring. Thus these offerings, as glimpses of an existence removed and rarely explained, are plaintive and personal but ultimately lacking in any magic.