Train Go Sorry

Inside a deaf world

(1997) In American Sign Language, “train go sorry” means “missing the boat.” Leah Hager Cohen uses the phrase as shorthand for the myriad missed connections between the deaf and the hearing. Yet in this stunning work of journalism and memoir she also forges new connections. As she ushers readers into New York’s Lexington School for the Deaf, Cohen (whose grandfather was deaf and whose father was the school’s superintendent) conveys the intimate truths of this silent but articulate world.

She also follows the debates that range within it. Should deaf children be taught A.S.L. even if that estranges them from their hearing families? Will "mainstreaming" deaf pupils into ordinary public schools end up stripping them of their identities? Do attempts to "cure" deafness through new medical technologies make deaf people's lives better or worse? Passionately, poignantly, Train Go Sorry compels us to see the deaf as they see themselves: not as victims of a pathology, but as members of a vital and nurturing culture.


New York Times Notable Book


American Library Association Notable Book


Remarkable and insightful...a parable of understanding...Ms. Cohen has given us reporting that feels like a love story—as intimate, tender, and any you're likely to find.

The New York Times Book Review (cover)

Eloquent...a stunningly empathetic examination of [deaf people's] stories and a brilliant narrative of Deaf culture.

– The New York Times Magazine

A breakthrough book—a learned, loving look at the present and future of the deaf universe...A must read.

– The Chicago Sun-Times