One of the first things ninety-two-year-old Marian Leatherby overhears when she is given an ornate hearing trumpet is her family plotting to commit her to an institution. Soon she finds herself trapped inside a sinister retirement home where the elderly must inhabit buildings shaped like birthday cakes and igloos, endure twisted religious preaching, and eat in a canteen overlooked by the mysterious portrait of a leering abbess. But when another resident secretly hands Marian a book recounting the life of the abbess, a joyous and brilliantly surreal adventure begins to unfold. Written in the early 1960s, The Hearing Trumpet remains one of the most original and inspirational of all fantastic novels.
New York Review of Books