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The shaking woman, or, A history of my nerves (2010)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805091696, Hardcover)Book Description
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 Hustvedt's search for a diagnosis. That search introduces her to the theories 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."
Amazon Exclusive: Hilary Mantel Reviews The Shaking Woman
"Where do you get your ideas from?" novelists are often asked. "Where do you get your characters?" They are less often stolen from real life than readers imagine; they are more often generated deep inside, and stored till they are wanted. In the same way, the novelist's life, however unremarkable, has to generate the imagined stories of strangers. You are always looking inside yourself for shadowy companion selves who can be recognized and put to work.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:54 -0400)
Tracks the author's search for a diagnosis for a mysterious condition where she sporadically shakes from the neck down, a search that takes her inside the thought processes of several scientific disciplines, each one with its own opinion but no clear solution.
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