Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681374642
Pages: 224
Publication Date: January 5, 2021

The Hearing Trumpet

by Leonora Carrington, afterword by Olga Tokarczuk


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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.


Reading The Hearing Trumpet liberates us from the miserable reality of our days.
—Luis Buñuel

One of the most original, joyful, satisfying and quietly visionary novels of the twentieth century.
—Ali Smith

This book is so inspiring . . . I love its freedom, its humour and how it invents its own laws.

Briton Leonora Carrington is better known as a Mexican surrealist painter, but here she creates an extraordinary feminist fantasy, in which old age becomes a riotous adventure.
The Guardian, "1000 novels everyone must read"

Even when the plot turns grim, the prose is jaunty, a sign of its author's reveling in her own perverse imagination.
—Matthew Sharpe

[Carrington's] comic masterpiece.
—Marina Warner, The Guardian