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.
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their journey makes for goofy, pun-happy reading, a little like overhearing lovers coo to each other." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Writing with her signature empathy, curiosity, brilliance, and mirth, Ackerman chronicles West's heroic battle to reclaim words and mobility...A gorgeously engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening love story of crisis, determination, creativity, and repair." - Booklist
"A book about love and caring and the magic of communication; perfect for book clubs." - Library Journal
"Ackerman's book is important for the guidance and hope it offers to stroke victims and their families, and it's also a satisfying, tender and humane celebration of love between two literary elites." - Kirkus
"Ackerman's best writing and best book to date." - Antonio Damasio
"An intimate, richly documented, and beautiful memoir . [A] double portrait of two remarkable people." - Joyce Carol Oates
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Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by readers all over the world and the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings.
Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and Praise My Destroyer.
Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of ...
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