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The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage Through Alzheimer's (Hardback)
  • The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage Through Alzheimer's (Hardback)
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The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage Through Alzheimer's (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 368 Pages / Published: 26/09/2013
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Tens of millions of Americans either suffer from Alzheimer's or care for someone who does. In a single generation, that number will triple. Jeanne Murray Walker's memoir speaks with compassionate wisdom about the gifts that wait to be discovered even in the midst of this grim disease. As Walker cares for her mother during her heartrending decline, she, her sister and her mother develop closer ties. The intimate look at illness and death-hardly acknowledged by our culture-becomes another sort of gift and after spending thousands of hours with her mother, Jeanne begins to recover her own early memories and understand her history in a transformative way. THE GEOGRAPHY OF MEMORY reveals that for all the grim news about Alzheimer's, it is possible to find joy and hope in the midst of pain.

The story is made up of three braided strands. Two are narrative: the present story of caring for her mother and the past story of Walker's childhood memories. The third strand is a series of pithy Field Notes that anchor the book in practical reflections on memory. Interwoven are chapters which flash back to Walker's teenage battles with her feisty, valiant, widowed mother. Only because Walker slowed down and spent thousands of hours in the company of her mother during the last decade of her life was she able to recover these memories. The field notes are short, poetic pauses in the narrative that address memory: what it is, how it works, how it can be strengthened, what happens when it goes away.

Geography of Memory is the hopeful story about Alzheimer's that readers are waiting to hear.

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
ISBN: 9781455544981
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 506 g
Dimensions: 224 x 179 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"As the lively, witty, energetic character who was her mother begins to become hopelessly lost in Alzheimer's, poet Jeanne Walker readily shoulders her share of caregiving, a commitment of love requiring three-hour plane rides; disrupting the rhythms of her own life as a wife, mother, and professor; disquieting her with grief; and taxing her relationship with her beloved sister almost to the breaking point.

Yet the narrative as a whole says much more. At some point, knowing so well the story of her mother's life, Walker begins to find her crazy communications intelligible-to realize that her mother is talking in metaphors, and to understand them. The farther away her mother wanders, the closer their relationship. The love between them strengthens. Trying to follow the details of her mother's life as she recalls them, now, in fragments, Walker finds to her surprise that she is not only recovering her own childhood memories but also understanding them in a new way-a set of insights ranking among the most precious of her life.

In plainsong prose evoking her heartland roots, Jeanne Walker locates the gifts to be found in the darkest days of a loved one's decline and death, a story of redemption that will inform and encourage anyone caring or expecting to care for ill and aging parents--or anyone at all."--Peggy Anderson, author of New York Times bestsellers "Nurse" and "Children's Hospital "

"As the lively, witty, energetic character who was her mother begins to become hopelessly lost in Alzheimer's, poet Jeanne Walker readily shoulders her share of caregiving, a commitment of love requiring three-hour plane rides: disrupting the rhythms of her own life as a wife, mother, and professor, disquieting her with grief, and taxing her relationship with her beloved sister almost to the breaking point.
Yet the narrative as a whole says much more. At some point, knowing so well the story of her mother's life, Walker begins to find her crazy communications intelligible-realizing that her mother is talking in metaphors and understanding them. The farther away her mother wanders, the closer their relationship. The love between them strengthens. Trying to follow the details of her mother's life as she recalls them, now, in fragments, Walker finds to her surprise that she is not only recovering her own childhood memories but also understanding them in a new way-a set of insights ranking among the most precious of her life.
In plainsong prose evoking her heartland roots, Jeanne Walker locates the gifts to be found in the darkest days of a loved one's decline and death, a story of redemption that will inform and encourage anyone caring or expecting to care for ill and aging parents-or anyone at all." "Peggy Anderson, author of New York Times bestsellers "Nurse" and "Children's Hospital """

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