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Losing Music

A Memoir of Art, Pain, and Transformation

John Cotter

Losing Music
Losing Music

Losing Music

A Memoir of Art, Pain, and Transformation

John Cotter

Paperback | English
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Description

Praise for Losing Music

"An acute and very beautiful book."—Teju Cole, author of Known and Strange Things: Essays

“Understatedly elegant [. . .] In articulating what is now gone, Mr. Cotter vibrantly evokes the sensations of life before the beginning of the end of his hearing [. . .] Notwithstanding the personal catastrophe that deafness represents, it did give Mr. Cotter the ideal subject, transformed through literary grace, for a book. [. . . ] Losing Music comes closer to expressing the transcendent sensation by nearly being music itself. Its author turned adversity into quiet triumph. Evidence that Mr. Cotter's ear is still keen for the melodies of language sings from every page.”Wall Street Journal 

“In his moving memoir, John Cotter anticipates a world without sound. Losing Music offers a compelling portrait of how deafness isolates people from even those closest to them. [. . .] More broadly, he also challenges us to better understand how any disability radically alters a person's sense of self."Washington Post

“In this bracing memoir, essayist Cotter recounts his experience with an incurable inner ear disorder….The result is a poignant reflection on disability.”Publishers Weekly

“Cotter writes about the embodied experience of hearing loss vividly and within a network of contexts: that of caregiving and that of medical science’s many unsolved mysteries.”—Maddie Crum, The Vulture

 "Losing Music explodes an individual experience of illness into a cultural and medical reckoning; with a sociologist’s rigor and a poet’s lyricism, Cotter takes readers on an odyssey through the social history of disability, the brutal bureaucracy of the American healthcare system, and the intimate violence of living in a volatile body. But this memoir is just as much a love letter to sound itself as it is a chronicle of loss; your world will sound different after reading it."—Charley Burlock, Oprah Daily 

"More than about Ménière's, Losing Music is a powerful addition to the memoir canon—hard-hitting, beautiful, profound—a story of finding safe ground in a world regularly buffeted by very rough seas."—The Millions

“Cotter makes clear in his remarkable memoir, Losing Music, one of Ménière’s cruelest elements is its imprecision [. . .] It’s unclear to Cotter—and any of us—how much time we have left to consume, love, and share art. Through describing that uncertainty, Cotter reveals its value.”—On the Seawall

“What happens when something you’ve loved your whole life becomes something that causes you pain? That’s a question at the center of John Cotter’s new memoir, which chronicles his diagnosis with a condition that’s likely Ménière’s Disease—and the physical and psychological effects that it had on him. It’s a harrowing and insightful look at a challenging time in its author’s life.”—Inside Hook

“In an affecting debut memoir, novelist and essayist Cotter recounts the health crisis that transformed his sense of self and connection to his world [. . .] A gracefully rendered, candid chronicle of trauma.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Devastating and beautiful. Losing Music is pieced together in a particularly uncanny way, like scraps of conversation that gradually coalesce into an immensely powerful and meaningful whole.”—Sam Sacks, editor, Wall Street Journal

“John Cotter’s memoir examines hearing loss, challenges with the American healthcare system, adaptation to disability, and questions of fate, coincidence, and making meaning from misfortune. This is a moving and vulnerable story.” —Kathy Baum, 5280 Magazine

"[Losing Music] deepens our understanding of sound, human connection, and what it means to be (and remain) alive."—Shelby Smoak, Washington Independent Review of Books

Losing Music is a stunning, expansively beautiful book. Not just because of John Cotter's precise and vivid language on a sentence level, but also because of how it moves so tenderly through the vanishing of sound, and not just sound, but songs—points of connection that can be taken for granted. And even beyond this reality, Losing Music is not solely a sad book. It is also a book of comforts, of joys, of closeness. I am thankful for all of its movements.”—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America

“John Cotter brings sound to the page as something tactile: abrasive, elusive, fluid, textured, a current between body and mind. He fashions language into a velvety pocket in a harsh world. Losing Music is a phenomenal book about what it's like to be sick and suffering, and in it, I recognize not only the isolating nature of illness, but also a powerful intimacy with one's own changing self.”—Elissa Washuta, author of White Magic

Losing Music is a vertiginous journey of loss and discovery triggered by the onset of an unpredictable and mysterious disability. With poetic energy, John Cotter describes the roaring and swirling particulars of Ménière’s disease, while he grapples with universal questions of meaning and suffering. The memoir effortlessly blends personal stories with delightful deep dives into sound dynamics, inner-ear anatomy, and eighteenth-century author Jonathan Swift, who becomes a much needed friend—‘articulate, accessible, free with his time,’ and, I might add, darkly funny, dramatic, and brilliant, not unlike Cotter himself.”—M. Leona Godin, author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

“I’m not sure what I’d do if my body became a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and I can’t know how I’d handle the fear, frustration, and despair, but I doubt I’d have either the fortitude or the imagination to do what John Cotter has achieved in this book. Losing Music is a remarkable memoir: unsettling, insightful, and gorgeously written. I’ll be pressing this book into many people’s hands.”—Maggie Smith, author of Goldenrod: Poems

“I think the hardest thing for a personal writer to do is think well and feel well at the same time. John Cotter’s writing is bursting with as much intellect as heart. It’s as clear-eyed and incisive as it is moving. It’s what nonfiction should be.”—Lucas Mann, author of Captive Audience and Lord Fear

Losing Music is a fascinating, heartbreaking, deeply personal story from one of the most talented essayists around. It’s a book about art and illness, the betrayals of the body, and what is kept and what is lost as time goes by.”—Justin Taylor, author of Flights and Riding with the Ghost



Praise for Losing Music

"An acute and very beautiful book."—Teju Cole, author of Known and Strange Things: Essays

“Understatedly elegant [. . .] In articulating what is now gone, Mr. Cotter vibrantly evokes the sensations of life before the beginning of the end of his hearing [. . .] Notwithstanding the personal catastrophe that deafness represents, it did give Mr. Cotter the ideal subject, transformed through literary grace, for a book. [. . . ] Losing Music comes closer to expressing the transcendent sensation by nearly being music itself. Its author turned adversity into quiet triumph. Evidence that Mr. Cotter's ear is still keen for the melodies of language sings from every page.”Wall Street Journal 

“In his moving memoir, John Cotter anticipates a world without sound. Losing Music offers a compelling portrait of how deafness isolates people from even those closest to them. [. . .] More broadly, he also challenges us to better understand how any disability radically alters a person's sense of self."Washington Post

“In this bracing memoir, essayist Cotter recounts his experience with an incurable inner ear disorder….The result is a poignant reflection on disability.”Publishers Weekly

“Cotter writes about the embodied experience of hearing loss vividly and within a network of contexts: that of caregiving and that of medical science’s many unsolved mysteries.”—Maddie Crum, The Vulture

 "Losing Music explodes an individual experience of illness into a cultural and medical reckoning; with a sociologist’s rigor and a poet’s lyricism, Cotter takes readers on an odyssey through the social history of disability, the brutal bureaucracy of the American healthcare system, and the intimate violence of living in a volatile body. But this memoir is just as much a love letter to sound itself as it is a chronicle of loss; your world will sound different after reading it."—Charley Burlock, Oprah Daily 

"More than about Ménière's, Losing Music is a powerful addition to the memoir canon—hard-hitting, beautiful, profound—a story of finding safe ground in a world regularly buffeted by very rough seas."—The Millions

“Cotter makes clear in his remarkable memoir, Losing Music, one of Ménière’s cruelest elements is its imprecision [. . .] It’s unclear to Cotter—and any of us—how much time we have left to consume, love, and share art. Through describing that uncertainty, Cotter reveals its value.”—On the Seawall

“What happens when something you’ve loved your whole life becomes something that causes you pain? That’s a question at the center of John Cotter’s new memoir, which chronicles his diagnosis with a condition that’s likely Ménière’s Disease—and the physical and psychological effects that it had on him. It’s a harrowing and insightful look at a challenging time in its author’s life.”—Inside Hook

“In an affecting debut memoir, novelist and essayist Cotter recounts the health crisis that transformed his sense of self and connection to his world [. . .] A gracefully rendered, candid chronicle of trauma.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Devastating and beautiful. Losing Music is pieced together in a particularly uncanny way, like scraps of conversation that gradually coalesce into an immensely powerful and meaningful whole.”—Sam Sacks, editor, Wall Street Journal

“John Cotter’s memoir examines hearing loss, challenges with the American healthcare system, adaptation to disability, and questions of fate, coincidence, and making meaning from misfortune. This is a moving and vulnerable story.” —Kathy Baum, 5280 Magazine

"[Losing Music] deepens our understanding of sound, human connection, and what it means to be (and remain) alive."—Shelby Smoak, Washington Independent Review of Books

Losing Music is a stunning, expansively beautiful book. Not just because of John Cotter's precise and vivid language on a sentence level, but also because of how it moves so tenderly through the vanishing of sound, and not just sound, but songs—points of connection that can be taken for granted. And even beyond this reality, Losing Music is not solely a sad book. It is also a book of comforts, of joys, of closeness. I am thankful for all of its movements.”—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America

“John Cotter brings sound to the page as something tactile: abrasive, elusive, fluid, textured, a current between body and mind. He fashions language into a velvety pocket in a harsh world. Losing Music is a phenomenal book about what it's like to be sick and suffering, and in it, I recognize not only the isolating nature of illness, but also a powerful intimacy with one's own changing self.”—Elissa Washuta, author of White Magic

Losing Music is a vertiginous journey of loss and discovery triggered by the onset of an unpredictable and mysterious disability. With poetic energy, John Cotter describes the roaring and swirling particulars of Ménière’s disease, while he grapples with universal questions of meaning and suffering. The memoir effortlessly blends personal stories with delightful deep dives into sound dynamics, inner-ear anatomy, and eighteenth-century author Jonathan Swift, who becomes a much needed friend—‘articulate, accessible, free with his time,’ and, I might add, darkly funny, dramatic, and brilliant, not unlike Cotter himself.”—M. Leona Godin, author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness

“I’m not sure what I’d do if my body became a seemingly unsolvable mystery, and I can’t know how I’d handle the fear, frustration, and despair, but I doubt I’d have either the fortitude or the imagination to do what John Cotter has achieved in this book. Losing Music is a remarkable memoir: unsettling, insightful, and gorgeously written. I’ll be pressing this book into many people’s hands.”—Maggie Smith, author of Goldenrod: Poems

“I think the hardest thing for a personal writer to do is think well and feel well at the same time. John Cotter’s writing is bursting with as much intellect as heart. It’s as clear-eyed and incisive as it is moving. It’s what nonfiction should be.”—Lucas Mann, author of Captive Audience and Lord Fear

Losing Music is a fascinating, heartbreaking, deeply personal story from one of the most talented essayists around. It’s a book about art and illness, the betrayals of the body, and what is kept and what is lost as time goes by.”—Justin Taylor, author of Flights and Riding with the Ghost



John Cotter is the author of Losing Music. He has contributed essays, theater pieces, and fiction to New England Review, Raritan, Georgia Review, Guernica, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, Joyland, Commonweal, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Specifications

  • Publisher
    Milkweed Editions
  • Pub date
    Jun 2024
  • Pages
    304
  • Theme
    Coping with chronic or long-term illness or conditions
  • Dimensions
    215 x 139 x 12 mm
  • EAN
    9781639550760
  • Paperback
    Paperback
  • Language
    English

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