In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)

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9780803242975: In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)
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In December 1988 Floyd Skloot was stricken by a virus that targeted his brain, leaving him totally disabled and utterly changed. In the Shadow of Memory is an intimate picture of what it is like to find oneself possessed of a ravaged memory and unstable balance and confronted by wholesale changes in both cognitive and emotional powers. Skloot also explores the gradual reassembling of himself, putting together his scattered memories, rediscovering the meaning of childhood and family history, and learning a new way to be at home in the world. Combining the author’s skills as a poet and novelist, this book finds humor, meaning, and hope in the story of a fragmented life made whole by love and the courage to thrive.

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From the Inside Flap:

Named a "Best of 2003" nonfiction title by the Chicago Tribune

2003 Oregon Book Award Co-Winner for Creative Nonfiction

Named a "Top 10 Northwest Book" by The Oregonian

Book Sense 76 Independent Bookseller selection

2003 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for nonfiction finalist

Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection

2004 PEN Award for the Art of the Essay finalist

Winner of the 2004 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction

Winner of the 2004 Independent Publisher Book Award

"Skloot has created a luminous yet brutally candid memoir. . . . This book possesses a gravity and immensity that belie its brief length."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune.

"Bracingly triumphant . . . [Skloot] is a master of the genre, deftly incorporating neuroscience and autobiography, vivid detail and hard-won emotional truth. . . . Think of In the Shadow of Memory as an Oliver Sacks work written from the inside out, the neurological patient as narrator of his own condition."—Dan Cryer, Newsday.

In December 1988 Floyd Skloot was stricken by a virus that targeted his brain, leaving him totally disabled and utterly changed. In the Shadow of Memory is an intimate picture of what it is like to find oneself possessed of a ravaged memory and unstable balance and confronted by wholesale changes in both cognitive and emotional powers. Skloot also explores the gradual reassembling of himself, putting together his scattered memories, rediscovering the meaning of childhood and family history, and learning a new way to be at home in the world. Combining the author’s skills as a poet and novelist, this book finds humor, meaning, and hope in the story of a fragmented life made whole by love and the courage to thrive.

Floyd Skloot is the author of three novels, four collections of poetry, and a collection of essays, The Night Side. Individual essays from In the Shadow of Memory have been included in the anthologies The Best American Essays, The Art of the Essay 1999, and The Best American Science Writing 2000. The essay "A Measure of Acceptance" won the 2004 Pushcart Prize.

More praise for In the Shadow of Memory:

"What makes this collection compelling is the fact that the story is told from inside the experience, rather than from the perspective of a doctor or scientist. At the same time, Skloot manages to integrate the science of memory and brain trauma into his personal account, and the writing itself is by turns elegant, funny and unpretentious. . . . Despite the ways his illness has slowed him down and made even the simplest tasks seem suddenly complicated, in this book, Skloot has managed to convey a life story that is at once pared down and rich with possibility."—Jennifer Lee,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"[W]hile the early descriptions of his condition are fascinating, by far the more vivid part of the book is the latter two-thirds, where he gives us distant and recent memories of his family. The mind that created these pages may be halting, but it is entirely whole. . . . These chapters of family memory are tightly written and beautifully constructed, so we are astonished toward the end of one when Skloot mentions that it has taken him 11 months to write 13 pages. Earlier he had spoken of writing as a way of facing down the 'insult' of his injury. This whole book is an instance of that, and a tribute to the creative spirit, which is beyond anything as fragile as the thinking mind."—David Guy,Washington Post.

"A poignant memoir of his experience with virally induced brain damage. . . .Skloot's gemlike essays strive to make sense of this experience. . . .Never self-indulgent, the book is a clear-eyed investigation into our powers of recall, especially as they relate to painful familial pasts, and a look at how we never stop trying to make something transcendent of our disturbing memories. . . .With this searing honesty, Skloot's essays add up to a profoundly moving tale of emotion triumphing over the analytical, of the importance of accepting family shortcomings rather than trying to rewrite the past. The world Skloot delineates is one in which brain damage, like troubled family histories, offers backhanded kinds of blessings—blessings he nonetheless celebrates with refreshing candor."—Bernadette Murphy, Los Angeles Times.

"What will amaze readers . . . is the poise—and even humor—with which Skloot turns personal catastrophe into literary reflection. These reflections convert neurological fact into poignant insight on how brain failure at once imperils and reveals the human essence. . . . Perhaps because so many of his memories have vanished into the black hole of disease, Skloot unfolds each of his remaining recollections as fragments of a precious mosaic of meaning. A remarkable literary achievement." —Booklist (starred review).

"In this remarkable collection of essays, part of the American Lives series (edited by Tobias Wolff), Skloot conveys what it is like to live with a damaged brain. . . . This is an unusual and engrossing memoir written with intelligence, honesty, perception and humor."—Publishers Weekly.

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About the Author:

Floyd Skloot is the author of three novels, four collections of poetry, and a collection of essays, The Night Side. Individual essays from In the Shadow of Memory have been included in the anthologies The Best American Essays, The Art of the Essay 1999, and The Best American Science Writing 2000. The essay "A Measure of Acceptance" won the 2004 Pushcart Prize.

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9780803293229: In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)

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ISBN 10:  0803293224 ISBN 13:  9780803293229
Publisher: Bison Books, 2004
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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. 244 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. MEMOIRS. In December 1988 Floyd Skloot was stricken by a virus that targeted his brain, leaving him totally disabled and utterly changed. In the Shadow of Memory is an intimate picture of what it is like to find oneself possessed of a ravaged memory and unstable balance and confronted by wholesale changes in both cognitive and emotional powers. Skloot also explores the gradual reassembling of himself, putting together his scattered memories, rediscovering the meaning of childhood and family history, and learning a new way to be at home in the world. Combining the author's skills as a poet and novelist, this book finds humor, meaning, and hope in the story of a fragmented life made whole by love and the courage to thrive. "Skloot has created a luminous yet brutally candid memoir. . . . This book possesses a gravity and immensity that belie its brief length."ÑJulia Keller, Chicago Tribune "Bracingly triumphant. . . . [Skloot] is a master of the genre, deftly incorporating neuroscience and autobiography, vivid detail and hard-won emotional truth. . . . Think of In the Shadow of Memory as an Oliver Sacks work written from the inside out, the neurological patient as narrator of his own condition."ÑDan Cryer, Newsday "In the Shadow of Memory is his best work. It is emotionally harrowing, frightening, terse, fascinating. It is also alive with humor, infused with the gaiety that comes with the sheer experience of living, if we will let it come. . . . Don't expect a litany of illness and horror. In fact, don't expect anything. Open this book and let Skloot take you on the journey of discovery he chose to make rather than give up."ÑDan Hays, StatesmanJournal. "How can a man who has found himself trying to cut celery with a carrot, a man who forgets phone numbers in the act of dialing them, create essays that resonate with wisdom and emotional sagacity? Perhaps because, as often happens in life, after loss come strange and compensatory gifts. No longer at ease in his craft, É Skloot now spends excruciating hours in acts of focus and recall, conducting the grueling ceremonies of memory he now requires simply to create a logical narrative. The resulting essaysÉshine with the distilled brilliance that is the tricky blessing of Skloot's new self and new style of craftsmanship."ÑJennifer Saylor, Creative Loafing Charlotte "A moving account of [Skloot's] life after contracting a virus. . . . thought-provoking discussion of how the brain operates (or doesn't) in people suffering from Alzheimer's or other brain injuries."ÑNancy Pearl, KUOW Radio Online "Sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, essay after essay, I am amazed at what Skloot accomplishes, given the disability he lives with and which he describes with such skill. . . . These are, indeed, some of the best essays I've read, and so it's easy to see why they have received the honors and attention they do."ÑNewPages. "Tightly written and beautifully constructed. . . . A tribute to the creative spirit, which is beyond anything as fragile as the thinking mind."ÑDavid Guy, The Seattle Times "Despite the ways his illness has slowed him down and made even the simplest tasks seem suddenly complicated, in this book, Skloot has managed to convey a life story that is at once pared down and rich with possibility." ÑJennifer Lee, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "I recognize his losses. I live with many of them. . . . I now know more than I'd like to about brain injury, however subtle, but thanks to Mr. Skloot, I don't feel so lost."ÑDan R. Barber, Dallas Morning News "A poignant memoir of his experience with virally induced brain damage. . . . Skloot's gemlike essays strive to make sense of this experience. . . . Never self-indulgent, the book is a clear-eyed investigation into our powers of recall, especially as they relate to painful familial pasts, and a look at how we never stop trying to make something transcendent of our d. book. Seller Inventory # 63610X1

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