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Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Lifeby Allen Shawn
Synopses & Reviews
and#8220;Brilliant and painful and hilarious.and#8221; and#8212;Antonya Nelson
On October 17, 2002, David MacLean and#8220;woke upand#8221; on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.
Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. Soon he could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. All of these symptoms, it turned out, were the result of the commonly prescribed malarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself.
The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, drawn from David MacLeanand#8217;s award-winning This American Life essay, is a deeply felt, closely researched, and intensely personal book. It asks every reader to confront the essential questions of our age: In our geographically and chemically fluid world, what makes me who I am? And how much can be stripped away before I become someone else entirely?and#160;
In this memoir of enormous bravery, a member of one of New York's premier literary families delivers a droll, inquisitive, and poignant examination of his life with agoraphobia.
Imagine waking up in a train station in India with no idea who you are or how you got there.and#160; This is what happened to David MacLean.
In addition to being the son of famous New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of the distinguished playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, Allen Shawn is agoraphobic-he is afraid of both public spaces and isolation. Wish I Could Be There gracefully captures both of these extraordinary realities, blending memoir and scientific inquiry in an utterly engrossing quest to understand the mysteries of the human mind. Droll, probing, and honest, Shawn explores the many ways we all become who we are, whether through upbringing, genes, or our own choices, creating "an eloquent meditation upon the mysteries of personality and family"* and the struggle to face one's demons.
About the Author
Allen Shawn, a composer and writer, has produced many orchestral, chamber, vocal, and piano works, as well as music for ballet, theater, and film. He has written for The Atlantic and is on the faculty at Bennington College in Vermont.
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