My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke

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9780393046564: My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke
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A frank and moving memoir of the stroke that felled the author at his peak of vigor and achievement.

On the morning of July 29, 1995, Robert McCrum ― 42 years old, just two weeks newly married, at the top of his profession as one of British publishing's most admired editors, in what he thought was the full bloom of health ― awoke to find himself totally paralyzed on the left side, the victim of a stroke brought on by a massive cerebral hemorrhage. After a nightmarish day struggling to reach a phone, he finally summoned help. In the weeks to come, he would have to face the reality that his life had irrevocably changed and that medical science, maddeningly, could neither pinpoint the cause of the stroke nor offer any guarantee of recovery. What ensued was a battle beset by frustration and depression but equally marked by small victories, the help of dedicated physicians and therapists, and, first and last, the support of his new wife, whose love proved equal to their dismaying circumstances.

My Year Off is an eloquent story of hope, written with the sort of candor and detail that the author believes has been missing in the literature of strokes up to this time. It is as well a grown-up love story of the most realistic ― and hence, inspiring ― kind.

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Review:

On July 28, 1995, Robert McCrum suffered a severe stroke at the age of 42. His thoughtful memoir chronicles the long, arduous process of recovery. Drawing on his own diaries and those of his wife, Sarah Lyall (then the publishing columnist for the New York Times), McCrum presents a detailed portrait of the physical and psychological effects of a stroke. His speech was impaired and his left arm and leg were paralyzed, but almost worse was the emotional havoc those disabilities wrought. As the hard-driving, hard-living editor of English publishing house Faber & Faber, McCrum had defined himself for 20 years by what he did--now he was forced to ask himself who he was. He ruefully admits that his upbringing in the privileged British upper-middle class, traditionally suspicious of introspection, had ill prepared him for such a struggle, and he pays loving tribute to his American spouse's crucial role in his recovery. (Indeed, the excerpts from Lyall's diaries, which honestly reveal doubt, fear, and anger, are among the book's most moving sections.) Famous friends like Salman Rushdie and Michael Ondaatje make appearances at McCrum's London hospital bedside, but Lyall is the narrative's heroine, and the hard-working staff of physical and speech therapists the invaluable supporting players. The author's lucid explanation of stroke's medical aspects and thorough account of his slow progress toward nearly full recovery will inform and inspire other stroke victims, but at heart this is a touching marital love story and an exciting drama of personal rebirth. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"My Year Off" has been chosen by "Publisher's Weekly" as one of their Best Books of the Year for 1998.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780767904001: My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0767904001 ISBN 13:  9780767904001
Publisher: Broadway Books, 1999
Softcover

9780783885841: My Year Off (G K Hall Large Print Book Series)

G K Ha..., 1999
Hardcover

9780676970760: My Year Off: Rediscovering Life After a Stroke

Alfred..., 1998
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9780330369688: My Year Off, Rediscovering Life After a Stroke

Norton, 1998
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9780708991176: My Year Off

Charnw..., 1999
Hardcover

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