Sly, surprising, and as fierce as its protagonists, Yaara Shehori's Aquarium is a stunning debut that interrogates the practice of storytelling--and storyhearing.
Sisters Lili and Dori Ackerman are deaf. Their parents--beautiful, despondent Anna; fearsome and admired Alex--are deaf, too. Alex, a scrap-metal collector and sometime prophet, opposes any attempt to integrate with the hearing; to escape their destructive influence, the girls are educated at home. Deafness is no disability, their father says, but an alternative way of life, preferable by far to that of the strident, hypocritical hearing.
Living in a universe of their own creation, feared by and disdainful of the other children on their block, Lili and Dori grow up semi-feral. Lili writes down everything that happens--just the facts. And Dori, the reader, follows her older sister wherever she goes. United against a hostile and alien world, the girls and their parents watch the hearing like they would fish in an aquarium.
But when the hearing intrude and a devastating secret is revealed, the cracks that begin to form in the sisters' world will have consequences that span the rest of their lives. Separated from the family that ingrained in them a sense of uniqueness and alienation, Lili and Dori must relearn how to live, and how to tell their own stories.
About this Author
Yaara Shehori is an Israeli novelist and poet. She has been an editor of Hebrew literature at Keter Books since 2013. In 2015, Shehori was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Hebrew Literary Works and the Ministry of Culture's award for upcoming writers. She holds a PhD in Hebrew literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and a fellowship from the University of Iowa International Writing Program. In 2017, Aquarium was recognized with the Bernstein Prize for the best original Hebrew-language novel.
Todd Hasak-Lowy is an American writer and translator, and a professor of creative writing and literature at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of The Task of This Translator, a short-story collection; Captives, a novel; a narrative memoir for young adults, Somewhere There Is Still a Sun, cowritten with the Holocaust survivor Michael Gruenbaum; and three books for younger readers. Hasak-Lowy lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife and two daughters.
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