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Other titles in the American Lives series:
Phantom Limb (American Lives Series)
Synopses & Reviews
Phantom Limb is a memoir for those who have experienced the final difficult years of a parent's life. Janet Sternburg's mother lost her leg, yet continued to feel the limb as though it were still present. Setting out to learn more about this mysterious condition, Sternburg encounters new ideas about the relationship of mind to body. She also finds a sense of freedom and depth of caring that continues after her parents have died.
Sternburg suggests that we all have phantom limbs — someone no longer with us who remains a part of us. She writes about this paradox with such warmth and transformative imagination that the loss itself becomes luminous. At once a deeply moving chronicle of discovering love through adversity, an inquiry into what contemporary neurology has to teach us, and a meditation on the inexplicable suffering life sometimes brings, Phantom Limb links us all in the struggle to make peace with physical and emotional ghosts of the past.
"A haunting memoir?an absence that becomes in the telling an unforgettable presence. I am undone by this book." Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means.
"Janet Sternburg has found the perfect metaphor for the tragedy of pain and loss, the ultimate inevitabilities of life." Bill Moyers, broadcast journalist and editor of Healing and the Mind.
"Sharply yet gently probing, Janet Sternburg in Phantom Limb investigates loss, and how memory is joy and pain. This is a moving, compassionate, beautifully written book." Alicia Ostriker, author of The Crack in Everything.
"[Phantom Limb] has the delicacy and grace of haiku, conveying great depth of feeling and sensibility with a few sure, strong strokes." Anita Desai, author of Baumgartner's Bombay.
"A story shared by increasing numbers of American adults for whom the dying of aged parents is a compelled experience of growth and the renewal of filial love. Tough and delicate, heartbreaking and matter of fact - Phantom Limb is an unusual chronicle of a new kind of coming of age." Honor Moore, author of Darling.
Phantom Limb is a wise and courageous memoir that moves between past and present, chronicling an adult daughters journey through the final years of her parents lives. A story of discovering love through adversity as well as an inquiry into contemporary neurology and spiritual life, Phantom Limb is a moving meditation on the struggle to make peace with physical and emotional ghosts of the past. Janet Sternburg writes with such warmth and honesty that loss itself becomes luminous: “This is the grace of the last years, the children coming to understand the contradictions in their parents, not to reconcile them but encompass them in a larger love.”
Sternburg's memoir is for those who have experienced the final difficult years of a parent's life. She equates her mother's loss of a limb to the feeling of loss she felt when her mother eventually died--a part of her that was gone but still felt.
About the Author
Janet Sternburg is a widely published poet and essayist whose books include The Writer on Her Work. A faculty member of the California Institute for the Arts, she is also a photographer whose work appears in private and museum collections.
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