Strangers I Know
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Strangers I Know

Claudia Durastanti, Elizabeth Harris

Every family has its own mythology, but in this family none of the myths match up. Claudia’s mother says she met her husband when she stopped him from jumping off a bridge. Her father says it happened when he saved her from an attempted robbery. Both parents are deaf but couldn’t be more different; they can’t even agree on how they met, much less who needed saving.


Into this unlikely union, our narrator is born. She comes of age with her brother in this strange, and increasingly estranged, household split between a village in southern Italy and New York City. Without even sign language in common, family communication is chaotic and rife with misinterpretations, by turns hilarious and devastating.

An outsider in every way, Claudia longs for a freedom she’s not even sure exists. Only books and punk rock-and a tumultuous relationship-begin to show her the way to create her own mythology, to construct her version of the story of her life.

Kinetic, formally dazzling and spectacularly original, Strangers I Know is a portrait of an unconventional family that makes us look anew at how language shapes our understanding of ourselves.

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