Mouthquake by Daniel Allen Cox
First published 2015, Paperback
A novel about a boy with a stutter, and the tangled barbs of repressed memory.
Montreal, 1979. A boy's speech starts to fracture along with the cement of le Stade olympique. Do they share a fault line? Daniel Allen Cox's unconventional fourth novel tells the story of a boy with a stutter who grows up and uses sound to remember the past. A coming-of-age tale that telescopes through time like an amnesiac memoir, Mouthquake finds its strange beat in subliminal messages hidden in skipping records, in the stutters of celebrities, and in the wisdom of The Grand Antonio, a suspicious mystic who helps the narrator unlock the secret to his speech. This is a loudly exclaimed book of innuendo, rumours, and the tangled barbs of repressed memory that asks: How do you handle a troubling past event that behaves like a barely audible whisper?
Written with a poetic bravado and in a structure that mimics a stutter, the elegiac Mouthquake is speech therapy for the bent: the signal is perverted and the sounds are thrilling.
Art both tells and transforms life. And it is through the juxtaposition of evocative, surprising language with intellectual awareness and the sharing of open consciousness that this process is conveyed with soul as long as the form emerges from the emotional center of the work. Daniel finds these connections and innovations within himself, partially through commitment, partially through instinct. It's that thing we call talent.―Sarah Schulman, from the Afterword