For Simon, music is life. He’s the lead guitarist and vocalist in his band and life is looking good, until he wakes up and everything is eerily silent. When it’s evident that he can’t hear anything in his environment, not even his mother calling him, he begins to freak out. After a visit to the doctor confirms Simon’s suspicions, his whole world is turned upside down. He’s diagnosed with having suffered from a rare stroke that didn’t kill him but took his hearing. Simon is absolutely devastated. A million thoughts rage through his mind but the main question is what kind of musician can he be if he can’t hear anything?
To be able to cope with his new disability, Simon is required to attend sign language classes and counselling. If it weren’t for the incredible girl in his sessions who goes by “G”, he wouldn’t begin to embrace deaf culture. Even though he doesn’t immediately start trying to learn sign language, he tries to cope in his own way by creating music regardless of the fact that he can’t hear any of it. While his band hasn’t excommunicated him, he still can’t imagine a world without music and begins to experiment ways in which he can make music without sound.
I wanted to love this novel. I really wanted to but I couldn’t stand the fact that Simon’s obsession with creating this soundless music became the focus of this novel. He’s been in contact with a university professor and proposes the idea of it but this novel sadly falls short of my expectations. After the book gives the necessary backstory and interjects small scenes of his blooming relationship with G, it feels as if it veered away from the actual storyline and got caught in a loop of Simon’s desperation. I chose to read this novel because I thought it was going to be a book about youth overcoming obstacles and not about the protagonist being in a constant state of denial. Still, I enjoyed the parts where different people in his life like his mother or sister attempted to use sign language to talk to Simon or to encourage him.
If you’re looking for a dark book to add variety to your “To Be Read” list, Impossible Music by Sean Williams is definitely worth the time if you can tolerate reading through pages upon pages of teenage angst coupled with the feeling of hopelessness.