Jellyfish Have No Ears: A Novel (Paperback)

Jellyfish Have No Ears: A Novel By Adèle Rosenfeld, Jeffrey Zuckerman (Translated by) Cover Image
By Adèle Rosenfeld, Jeffrey Zuckerman (Translated by)
Coming soon - available for pre-order now


Since she was little, Louise has been not quite hearing and not quite deaf—her life with this invisible disability has been one of in-betweenness. After an audiology test shows that almost all her hearing is gone, her doctor suggests getting a cochlear implant. The operation will be irreversible, making the decision all the more fraught. The technology would give Louise a new sense of hearing—but it would be at the expense of her natural hearing, which, for all its weakness, has shaped her unique relationship with the world, full of whispers and shadows.

Hearing, for Louise, is inseparable from reading other people’s lips. Through sight, she perceives words and strings them together like pearls to reconstruct a conversation. But when the string breaks, misunderstandings result and eccentric images fill her thoughts. As she weighs the prospect of surgery, fabulous characters begin to accompany her: a damaged soldier from the First World War, an irritable dog named Cirrus, and a whimsical botanist. This ethereal world, full of terror and beauty and off-kilter humor, keeps erupting into the equally chaotic reality of Louise’s life as she experiences a new relationship, suffers through her first job, and steadies herself with friends.

With Jellyfish Have No Ears, Adèle Rosenfeld shines an extraordinary light on the black hole of losing a sense and on the vibrancy that can arise to fill the void.

Praise For…

“Will a cochlear implant change the way one unforgettable young woman experiences the world? Adèle Rosenfeld's narrator grapples with this question as she navigates work, love, and her own unruly imagination. In lush, startling prose, made vivid by Jeffrey Zuckerman's translation, her agonizing choice becomes relevant to us all.”—Nell Freudenberger

“Unexpectedly, Adèle Rosenfeld’s marvelous novel turns out to be about sounds: fans whirring, sneakers squeaking, cars honking, motorcycles thrumming, but most of all voices making noises that are frustratingly but fascinatingly misunderstood. In Jeffrey Zuckerman’s translation, this account of imperfect hearing will take its readers by surprise and teach them new ways of listening.” —Anne Fadiman

“Every mishearing spawns a fiction: the hearer invents words, ideas, and stories to fill in the breaks in communication. Adèle Rosenfeld’s brilliant novel rigorously pursues the literary potential of this idea, as her narrator navigates an alternately painful, playful, and hallucinatory linguistic universe that unspools from the growing gaps in her hearing. Jeffrey Zuckerman’s marvelous translation of Jellyfish Have No Ears is a complex, funny, and deeply valuable chronicle of ‘someone uprooted from language’ as she wrestles with the alienation, ambiguity, denial, and possibility that emerge from her new states of being.” —Andrew Leland

Product Details
ISBN: 9781644452967
ISBN-10: 1644452960
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 192
Language: English