This book was riveting, unexpectedly so. I found myself carrying it with me and reading anytime I had a few extra minutes. Colapinto writes with clarity and curiosity, with compassion, humor, and depth. This is a stunning, intelligent discourse on the voice and how its development has shaped us as a species, while we, as a species, have shaped it. Incredible.
Colapinto’s curiosity guides us from the first lungfish crawling out of the muck to the subtle nuance and power of our modern voice. And in between we are treated to an idea that seems at first outrageous and, in the end, obvious – that our vocal prowess has been a propulsive factor in our evolution, in leading us to the top of the food chain. This connection between voice and the evolution of our species was fascinating to me. Pondering how our bodies changed to fill a need, with our culture developing in tandem, just blew my little mind. He pays particular attention to the physical development of our vocal apparatus and how it changed the shape of our bodies – lengthening the neck, altering the size and shape of the mouth, etc.
I loved reading about the development of language, a relatively modern construction, alongside the development of language in an individual, beginning in the womb, absorbing the prosody of a mother’s voice. It is this prosody, this song-like quality of language that we first keen to.
And there is so much more! But I gotta stop somewhere. This book is incredibly well researched, backed with a number of scientific studies, some quite obscure, all quite captivating. Colapinto is a fabulous writer, skilled at shaping the story he is telling. Because his own boundless curiosity shines through what he writes, I couldn’t help but be dragged along with him. I loved this book!