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In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)by Floyd Skloot
Winner of the 2003 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction
Synopses & Reviews
In December 1988, Floyd Skloot was stricken by a virus that targeted his brain. The resulting damage left him totally disabled and utterly changed. In the Shadow of Memory is a candid memoir of living with a brain and a mind that have suddenly been shattered ? an intimate picture of what it is like to find oneself possessed of a ravaged memory, unstable balance, and wholesale changes in both cognitive and emotional powers.
But the book is more than an account of catastrophic metamorphosis. Skloot also explores the gradual reassembling of himself, putting together his scattered memories, rediscovering the meaning of childhood and family history, 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 not simply one of the wisest, wryest, and most interesting essayists I?ve ever read, he is also among the funniest. In the Shadow of Memory taught me as much about myself and my brain as it did about Skloot?s battle to regain a semblance of the life he once led. It?s a tale that is honest, insightful, and ? in the end ? profoundly moving.? Chris Bohjalian, author of The Buffalo Soldier and Midwives
?In the Shadow of Memory opens a window into a world of shattering confusion and mysterious transformation that most people can never comprehend. It is powerful, horrifying, and ultimately enlightening for both writer and reader.? Lee Gutkind, editor and founder of Creative Nonfiction magazine
?Penetrating, eloquent, witty, and luminous. I can?t remember the last book that taught me so much, and so well, about what it means to be human.? James Gleick, author of Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything
?Floyd Skloot tells his edgy, tense, harrowing story in prose graceful and lyrical, compelling and funny. The end result ? especially since Skloot is utterly unpretentious ? is wisdom literature that?s like a cross between the Book of Job and Rumi. He seeks understanding above order, harmony over mastery, and values compassion more than analysis. This is also one of the funniest books I?ve read in years.? Diana Hume George, author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America
?Over the past decade, Floyd Skloot has developed into one of the finest essayists we have. His strong, subtle, exquisitely truthful and often very funny writing testifies to an impressive humanity and maturity. In the Shadow of Memory is Skloot?s best book, and can stand comparison with any personal essay collection by anyone in recent years.? Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body
?Drawing on personal experience and scientific research, Skloot provides fascinating insights into the nature and basis of human experience.? Daniel Schacter, Chair of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past
The essay "A Measure of Acceptance" won the 2002 Shipley Award from Creative Nonfiction magazine.
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 2002 Shipley Award from Creative Nonfiction magazine.
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