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The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves


The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this unique neurological memoir, Siri Hustvedt attempts to solve her own mysterious condition

While speaking at a memorial event for her father in 2006, Siri Hustvedt suffered a violent seizure from the neck down. Despite her flapping arms and shaking legs, she continued to speak clearly and was able to finish her speech. It was as if she had suddenly become two people: a calm orator and a shuddering wreck. Then the seizures happened again and again. The Shaking Woman tracks Hustvedts search for a diagnosis, one that takes her inside the thought processes of several scientific disciplines, each one of which offers a distinct perspective on her paroxysms but no ready solution. In the process, she finds herself entangled in fundamental questions: What is the relationship between brain and mind? How do we remember? What is the self?

During her investigations, Hustvedt joins a discussion group in which neurologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and brain scientists trade ideas to develop a new field: neuropsychoanalysis. She volunteers as a writing teacher for psychiatric in-patients at the Payne Whitney clinic in New York City and unearths precedents in medical history that illuminate the origins of and shifts in our theories about the mind-body problem. In The Shaking Woman, Hustvedt synthesizes her experience and research into a compelling mystery: Who is the shaking woman? In the end, the story she tells becomes, in the words of George Makari, author of Revolution in Mind, “a brilliant illumination for us all.”

About the Author

Siri Hustvedt is the author of The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves, The Sorrows of an American, What I Loved, The Blindfold, and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, as well as two collections of essays, A Plea for Eros and Mysteries of the Rectangle. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Paul Auster. Visit Siri Hustvedt's website at

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jill Anderson, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Jill Anderson)
Author Siri Hustvedt is seized with a shaking fit that may or may not be neurological and may or may not be related to grief over her father's death. The book chronicles a kind of intellectual journey, as Hustvedt describes her readings in neurology and psychology to try to explain--or at least come to terms with-- her shaking episodes. An insightful read that, like much of Hustvedt's nonfiction, complements her novels.
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Product Details

Hustvedt, Siri
Picador USA
Medical - General
People with disabilities
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Medical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness

The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Picador USA - English 9780312429577 Reviews:
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