Fifty Sounds

Polly Barton

Read by Polly Barton

Spiracle Audiobooks & Fitzcarraldo Editions


Extent: 10:54:00

Audiobook ISBN: SPI-E-FIT-00001

RRP: £12

Publication date: 1 January 2024


“Powerful… Grappling with emotion through the medium of language” – The Guardian

Polly Barton, a translator of Japanese into English, structures her memoir not according to chronology, to memory or to a hierarchy of experiences but according to the onomatopoeic sounds (originally fifty, now actually forty-six) that order the kana, the phonetic characters that make up a portion of written Japanese. Each sound, its meaning, significance and history, is an organic frame for an event or experience from her own life – moving to Japan as a young woman, falling in love with a person and a place, her disappointments and failures, her curiosity and delight. The ‘fifty sounds’ tell a story, one that is funny, sad, recognisable, surprising. Polly Barton’s reading enables us to hear not just the fifty sounds, but Polly herself.

Published with Fitzcarraldo Editions
Cover: Meriel Brown