Synopses & Reviews
Everyone who cherishes the gift of language will cherish Diane Ackerman's narrative masterpiece, an exquisitely written love story and medical miracle story, one that combines science, inspiration, wisdom, and heart. One day Ackerman's husband, Paul West, an exceptionally gifted wordsmith and intellectual, suffered a terrible stroke. When he regained awareness he was afflicted with aphasia-loss of language-and could utter only a single syllable: mem. The standard therapies yielded little result but frustration. Diane soon found, however, that by harnessing their deep knowledge of each other and her scientific understanding of language and the brain she could guide Paul back to the world of words. This triumphant book is both a humane and revealing addition to the medical literature on stroke and aphasia and an exquisitely written love story: a magnificent addition to literature, period.
"Engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening." Donna Seaman
"Breathtaking . . . hollowed out my chest . . . . A splendid book." Booklist
"Renewed my faith in the redemptive power of love." Karen Long Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Moving... Ms. Ackerman won me over...intensely engaging... intimate." Abraham Verghese New York Times Book Review
"Finally, this is a story about Ackerman's love for West, a love beyond fathoming, and probably beyond words." Paula Span New York Times' blog "The New Old Age"
No other writer can blend the science of the brain with the love of language like Diane Ackerman. In this extraordinary memoir, she opens a window into the experience of wordlessness--the language paralysis called aphasia. In narrating the recovery of her husband, Paul West, from a stroke that reduced his vast vocabulary to a single syllable, she evokes the joy and mystery of the brain's ability to find and connect words. Deeply rewarding to readers of all kinds, Ackerman has given us a literary love story, accessible insight into the science and medicine of brain injury, and invaluable spiritual sustenance in the face of life's myriad physical sufferings.
"A testament to the power of creativity in language, life--and love." --Heller McAlpin, Washington Post
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Finalist for the National Book Circle Critics Award "A testament to the power of creativity in language, life--and love." --Heller McAlpin,
About the Author
Diane Ackerman has been the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in addition to many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the best-selling The Zookeeper's Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives with her husband Paul West in Ithaca, New York.