HOW TO SPEAK AGAIN
Am Oved, 2023
Three years ago, novelist Yonatan Sagiv thought he had finally found his voice. As a lecturer in London, his expression was freed of the repressions demanded of an extroverted gay man growing up in the militaristic society of Israel. But one morning, while he and his husband were paying a visit to Sagiv’s parents, his body betrayed him: he went mute.
How To Speak Again is a slim memoir about voice, identity, and the social and biological forces with which they must contend. At its heart is the unique perspective of one who, by embracing his unique voice, nearly lost it forever.
Melding powerful, hypnotic narrative with chilling intimacy, Sagiv examines the trials of voice therapy and the weight of the said and unsaid in his family and medical life. His father, bred in the mythic shadow of a big brother killed in battle, chatters non-stop in his old age about cats and gardening, but never the tragedies which determined his existence. His Egyptian-English speech therapist teaches him endless breathing exercises but maintains an uneasy border between the physiological and psychological causes of his muteness. Recollections of the formative moments of his voice before and after puberty are weaved seamlessly into the narrative present – an ever-shifting locus of lively dialogue, philosophical foray, and poetic beauty.
Impeccably translated by International Booker Prize winner Jessica Cohen, How To Speak Again is a profound and moving meditation on what it means to have a voice.
"One of the best books to come out in Hebrew in recent years..." – Haaretz
"Beautifully written, one of the most talked about books this past year." – Kan TV
"This slim book contains an entire world in its pages." – Zippi Gon Gross
"A man's heart-felt journey to get his voice back." – L'Isha Magazine