What makes a good listener? There are a number of commonsensical ideas about what constitutes doing it well — patience, tolerance, availability, responsiveness, lack of moral judgement — but is it really so simple? Is it a skill one can easily learn or more of a quirk or talent? And why do some people seem to be so much better at it than others?
Written by a psychoanalyst and a violin maker, Uneasy Listening is a dialogue between two very different kinds of professional listener: the former working with speech, the latter with musical instruments. Beginning as total strangers, Anouchka Grose and Robert Brewer Young embark on an engaging, entertaining, and winding meditation on communication that weaves together wide-ranging references from across psychoanalytic theory, philosophy, contemporary politics and culture. As they discuss the differences, similarities, and resonances between their practices, they run up against some of the illuminating difficulties of dialogue itself. The result is a kind of awkward duet in which two thinkers and practitioners accommodate, interrupt, and perplex each other in an attempt to say something about what listening means.