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The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir

The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir Cover

 

 

Excerpt

 
The Beginning
The disease has been in remission seven years. Now I can try to remember what happened. Not understand. Just remember.

 

For seven years I tried not to remember much because there was too much to remember, and I didn’t want to fall any further behind with the events of my life. I still don’t have a vegetable garden. I still haven’t been to France. I have gone to bed with enough people that they seem like actual people now, but while I was going to bed with them I thought I was catching up. I am sorry. I had lost what seemed like a lot of time.

 

I waited seven years to forget just enough—so that when I tried to remember, I could do it thoroughly. There are only a few things to remember now, and the lost things are absolutely, comfortingly gone.

 

I wrote down some things while the disease was happening—there are notes from one hospital stay and a few notes from the sickest years—but it isn’t much.

 

Sometimes I think the content of those days might not have finished happening. It might have begun then, in 1995, but I needed to save the rest of it until I was stronger.

 

The events that began in 1995 might keep happening to me as long as things can happen to me. Think of spacetime, through which heavenly bodies fly forever. They fly until they change into new forms, simpler forms, with ever fewer qualities and increasingly beautiful names.

 

There are names for things in spacetime that are nothing, for things that are less than nothing. White dwarfs, red giants, black holes, singularities.

 

But even then, in their less-than-nothing state, they keep happening.
THE TWO KINDS OF DECAY. Copyright © 2008 by Sarah Manguso. All rights reserved. For information, address Picador, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374280123
Subtitle:
A Memoir
Publisher:
Picador
Author:
Manguso, Sarah
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Patients
Subject:
Guillain-barre syndrome
Subject:
Health
Subject:
Manguso, Sarah - Health
Subject:
Guillain-Barre syndrome - Patients
Subject:
Medical
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Diseases - Immune System
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090526
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 x 0.73 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 192 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374280123 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 1995, when Rome Prize — winning poet and fiction writer Manguso (Siste Viator) was a junior at Harvard, she suffered the first attack of a rare autoimmune disease called CIDP, which would turn her body against itself. CIDP attacks the myelin coating of the peripheral nerves. The result is increasing numbness, followed by paralysis spreading from the extremities inward, until the sufferer can no longer control his or her breathing, and dies. In short, lyrical chapters — the book free-associates between memories, while sticking to a rough chronological order — Manguso recounts the harrowing indignities of her treatments, frequent relapses, descents into steroid-induced clinical depression, crucial college sexual experiences had and missed, and trips back and forth between schools, hospitals and her parents' Massachusetts home. What makes this lightning-quick book extraordinary is not just Manguso's deadpan delivery of often unthinkable details, nor her poet's struggle with the damaging metaphors of disease, but the compassion she acquires as she comes to understand her pain in relation to the pain of others: 'suffering, however much and whatever type, shrinks or swells to fit the shape and size of a life.' (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , At 21, Manguso was faced with a wildly unpredictable disease that appeared suddenly, paralyzing her for weeks at a time. In this captivating story, she recalls her nine-year struggle with arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, addiction, and depression.
"Synopsis" by ,

At twenty-one, just as she was starting to comprehend the puzzles of adulthood, Sarah Manguso was faced with another: a wildly unpredictable autoimmune disease that appeared suddenly and tore through her twenties, paralyzing her for weeks at a time, programming her first to expect nothing from life and then, furiously, to expect everything. In this captivating story, Manguso recalls her struggle: arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, depression, the deaths of friends and strangers, addiction, and, worst of all for a writer, the trite metaphors that accompany prolonged illness. A book of tremendous grace, The Two Kinds of Decay transcends the very notion of what an illness story can and should be.

"Synopsis" by ,
The events that began in 1995 might keep happening to me as long as things can happen to me. Think of deep space, through which heavenly bodies fly forever. They fly until they change into new forms, simpler forms, with ever fewer qualities and increasingly beautiful names.

 

There are names for things in spacetime that are nothing, for things that are less than nothing. White dwarfs, red giants, black holes, singularities.

 

But even then, in their less-than-nothing state, they keep happening.

 

At twenty-one, just starting to comprehend the puzzles of adulthood, Sarah Manguso was faced with another: a wildly unpredictable disease that appeared suddenly and tore through her twenties, vanishing and then returning, paralyzing her for weeks at a time, programming her first to expect nothing from life and then, furiously, to expect everything. In this captivating story, Manguso recalls her nine-year struggle: arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, the deaths of friends and strangers, addiction, depression, and, worst of all for a writer, the trite metaphors that accompany prolonged illness. A book of tremendous grace and self-awareness, The Two Kinds of Decay transcends the very notion of what an illness story can and should be.

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