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I'm looking for a sci-fi/dystopian book with a deaf/mute main character. I read it in French, 10-15 years ago, but I have no idea of its original publishing date. I can't remember anything about the book cover, the author, or if the book was a translation. I'm pretty sure it was not part of a series.

What I remember:

  • The story was set in a near-future.
  • The MC was a (young?) woman who was born deaf and so was also mute. She could lip read and use sign language.
  • There was something about a new technology used by young people (seen as rebels by society) that were kind of "sci-fi headphones implant", but that were dangerous (like a kind of drug).
  • By opposition, other members of the society thought only books and reading were important.
  • MC meets a man (with an implant?), (who had another impairment maybe?), who become a 2nd protagonist and maybe a love interest.
  • I remember a scene where MC was reading on the bus and was bullied by 2/3 young boys (that were using the "sci-fi headphones"?) and thought she was ignoring them (when she was not hearing them).
  • I think there was an issue between the man and his mother, that were linked to the youth rebellion.
  • I think, at the end, the new technology is used to help the MC hear sounds for the first time.
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Virus L.I.V. 3 ou la mort des livres (1998) by Christian Grenier? As far as I can see, it was not translated into English; a literal translation of the title would be Virus L.I.V. 3 or the death of books.

From a librarian's blog, most of the translation courtesy of DeepL:

At the end of the 21st century, Europe is governed by the AEIOU, the Lettres who sit on the HL (High Library). This organisation prohibits the use of multimedia (modern communication techniques), i.e. computers, televisions, video games and of course the Internet. The Literature world of the Literature comes up against the Web world, represented by the ZZs (the Zinzins Zappers) who have developed a virus called LIV3. This virus erases the pages of the book after reading. Libraries, booksellers, bookshops, books...will disappear.

Allis, a young literate woman, deaf and mute, joins the vowel circle of the Académie des Lettres, not without Celine's reluctance because a screen is necessary to communicate with her. Emma, vowel leader, entrusts her with a mission: to infiltrate the ZZs to find out who developed the LIV3 virus and to find the antidote. She also asks her to try to find her son Lund, blind, whom she suspects to be a ZZ supporter. Allis will discover Lund's multiple identities, namely Mondaye (a web chat friend), and Sonn, leader of the ZZs behind the virus. This virus is a kind of revenge against his tyrannical mother. However, this virus contains in itself the solution to continue reading since it gives the possibility to enter the world of books in Virtual Interactive Reading (VIL).

Emma is reunited with her son, the antidote does not exist but Virtual Interactive Reading makes it possible to read without danger, Lund will be admitted to the Vowel Academy. Allis and Lund will live together, she will have an implant that will allow her to hear and Lund will have artificial eyes.


Found with the Google query roman science-fiction "sourde" muette implant (science-fiction novel "deaf" mute implant, with the feminine gender for mute and deaf).

  • 1
    Thank you, it really seems it's that one! I looked at the cover and it rang a bell. Thanks for telling how you found it out. I did the mistake of only searching with English keywords, and not French... I'm going to accept your answer! – SarahT Aug 27 '20 at 9:40

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