This is a vivid and powerful book based on the lives of three deaf girls who are born in the same village, in the same year, at the end of the Second World War. As the story of their growing up is told there emerges a rich canvas of family feuds and intrigues, evocative descriptions of place and time, and the nature of memory, and there are funny and tragic accounts of their education. The novel engages with the history of sign language, its suppression and survival. As much as Abby, the E of the story, impresses her identity on the world with recourse only to a single syllable, so the other girls need to fashion an identity for themselves as deaf people in a hearing world. There are large questions asked by this novel regarding the nature of language, identity and how reality is constructed in people's lives, all told through vivid characterisation. The novel offers real insight into the struggle of deaf people to be accepted as deaf people and for recognition of sign as a true language. This is a powerfully poetic text and a real page turner at the same time.