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The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by…

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2001)

by Andrew Solomon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
This book was part of a reading challenge for me, but I also chose it because I wanted to better understand what my best friend goes through when she suffers her periods of depression. I ended up with the audio version and I wasn't too disappointed. I'm not a fan of self help type books, so I entered worried that most of the audio would contain ways to change or improve, but this wasn't always the case, in fact, it gave me a very clear understanding of what it is like to suffer depression.

It felt a little self pitying to me, though. I understand that depression puts you in a certain mentality, but I felt as if that mentality was seeping through a lot of times. Yes, I wanted to understand the suffering, but not through the author's wallowing in it the way that he did at times. Not suffering from this myself, I can't confirm or deny the research or the alternative methods he used, but I wasn't coming to this book looking for answers for myself, only to understand the feelings of others. In that, I think the author succeeded rather well. ( )
  mirrani | Jun 24, 2017 |
An interesting mix of research and memoir. It includes descriptions of the author's own experience of depression, and those of many people he interviewed in the course of writing the book. He also provides much background, including the history of how depression has been understood and treated going back to early Greece. Another chapter focuses on poverty, describing the occurrence and treatment (or lack of it) of the disease in that community. It's a big book and I did a fair amount of skimming, but learned a lot. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
A masterpiece, one for lists of required reading.

Solomon is a story-teller, a scholar, and a great human being. I have no idea how he managed to write this book, but I'm glad he did.
  bartt95 | Jan 15, 2017 |
TL;DR Synopsis
Depression is pretty common and totally awful for a whole slew of reasons.

TL;DR Review
Uncomfortably relateable, but with comforting amounts of information pulled from a variety of sources and filtered through many different lenses.

If you've ever wondered how depression affects X, chances are, it's covered in this book. But you could probably guess that from the sheer size of the thing. There's a lot of info between the covers of Noonday Demon, but we all know that quantity doesn't necessarily equal quality. Well, don't worry. The information provided is throughly sourced, highly relevant, and presented clearly and understandably.

Despite the amount of information provided and the potentially devastating subject, I never felt confused or overwhelmed. NAME excels at presenting all of his information clearly and weaving others' opinions with his own words in such a way that never leaves the reader confused. And I never felt crushed by the weight of the topic, even while experiencing a mild depressive episode myself. (Because I chose to read this in the middle of winter -- my hardest season -- like a dummy.)

If you suffer from depression, read this book. If you have a loved one in your life who suffers from depression, read this book. If you are at all interested in the psychology of or global impact of depression, read this book. It is a real treasure.
( )
  shulera1 | Jun 7, 2016 |
Bill Wallis
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
''The Noonday Demon'' is a considerable accomplishment. It is likely to provoke discussion and controversy, and its generous assortment of voices, from the pathological to the philosophical, makes for rich, variegated reading. Solomon leaves us with the enigmatic statement that ''depression seems to be a peculiar assortment of conditions for which there are no evident boundaries'' -- exactly like life.
Depression is a country that the undepressed can't enter, but Solomon, who has travelled there and knows it well, bends all his energy and talent as a writer to sending us snapshots from this terrifying land (mood, he writes, 'is a frontier like deep ocean or deep space'). The result is scary but far from dispiriting; at times, Solomon's voice, calling to us from beyond the frontier, achieves a lonely rapture.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Nicci Gerrard (May 5, 2001)
A reader’s guide to depression, hopelessly bleak yet heartbreakingly real.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Solomonprimary authorall editionscalculated
リカ ツツミTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartosik, JolantaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campello, MyriamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Çapçı, BernaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dedeağaç, GülderenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
민승남Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
鄭慧華Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grinde, HeidiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holl, Hans GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Στουπάκη, ΑγγελικήTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mateo, FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richetin, ClaudineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sørensen, Lisbeth W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schroderus, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tatar, FundaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tissoni, AdriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zetterström, GunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
李凤翔Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Дорман, АлександрTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
יוסי מילואTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Everything passes away—suffering, pain, blood, hunger, pestilence. The sword will pass away too, but the stars will still remain when the shadows of our presence and our deeds have vanished from the earth. There is no man who does not know that. Why, then, will we not turn our eyes toward the stars? Why?
—Mikhael Bulgakov, The White Guard
For my father,
who gave me life not once, but twice
First words
Depression is the flaw in love.
"I will not have to seek far if I decide to kill myself, because in my mind and my heart I am more ready for this than for the unplanned daily tribulations that mark off the mornings and afternoons."
"Depressives have seen the world too clearly, have lost the selective advantage of blindness."
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Colpito da una violenta crisi depressiva a venticinque anni a causa della morte della madre, lo scrittore Andrew Solomon raccoglie in queste pagine non solo la sua esperienza personale, ma soprattutto un'indagine su una malattia dai contorni sfuggenti e dalle manifestazioni spesso ambigue e indecifrabili. Andando alla caccia delle ragioni della propria sofferenza e riportando le testimonianze di altre presone passate attraverso la stessa esperienza, Solomon offre al lettore una ricostruzione di tutte le implicazioni sanitarie, culturali, sociali e politiche della sindrome depressiva.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684854678, Paperback)

Sometimes, the legacy of depression includes a wisdom beyond one's years, a depth of passion unexperienced by those who haven't traveled to hell and back. Off the charts in its enlightening, comprehensive analysis of this pervasive yet misunderstood condition, The Noonday Demon forges a long, brambly path through the subject of depression--exposing all the discordant views and "answers" offered by science, philosophy, law, psychology, literature, art, and history. The result is a sprawling and thoroughly engrossing study, brilliantly synthesized by author Andrew Solomon.

Deceptively simple chapter titles (including "Breakdowns," "Treatments," "Addiction," "Suicide") each sit modestly atop a virtual avalanche of Solomon's intellect. This is not a book to be skimmed. But Solomon commands the language--and his topic--with such grace and empathy that the constant flow of references, poems, and quotations in his paragraphs arrive like welcome dinner guests. A longtime sufferer of severe depression himself, Solomon willingly shares his life story with readers. He discusses updated information on various drugs and treatment approaches while detailing his own trials with them. He describes a pharmaceutical company's surreal stage production (involving Pink Floyd, kick dancers, and an opener à la Cats) promoting a new antidepressant to their sales team. He chronicles his research visits to assorted mental institutions, which left him feeling he would "much rather engage with every manner of private despair than spend a protracted time" there. Under Solomon's care, however, such tales offer much more than shock value. They show that depression knows no social boundaries, manifests itself quite differently in each person, and has become political. And, while it may worsen or improve, depression will never be eradicated. Hope lies in finding ways--as Solomon clearly has--to harness its powerful lessons. --Liane Thomas

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has had on various demographic populations around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness." "The depth of human experience Solomon chronicles, the range of his intelligence, and his boundless curiosity and compassion will change the reader's view of the world."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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