Features the same real, rare neurological disorder as bestselling novelist and neuroscientist Lisa Genova (Still Alice) did in Left Neglected. While Genova is described as "equal parts Jennifer Weiner and Merck Manual" (National Post), Durcan-also a practicing neuroscientist-is, as critics of his first novel noted, more of a cross between John le Carre and Oliver Sacks.
Brings attention to "neglect syndrome," a serious disorder that creates a bizarre paradox for patients who, unable to recognize their loss, proceed as if entire portions of their world do not exist (objects, people, even their own body parts).
Illuminates how life-altering brain injuries can be for patients and families, while showing readers what it feels like to suffer from such a disorienting condition. Durcan's novel also offers a deeply reflective look at the moral dilemma of suicide and the role genetics plays in the lives of siblings.
Encompasses subjects ranging from the fall of Detroit and families estranged in the aftermath of the Vietnam War to the root of artistic desire and creative ambition.
Author's first novel was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and recipient of the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award.
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 298 g
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 20 mm
Praise for The Measure of Darkness
Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction Winner
National Reading Group Month "Great Group Reads" selection
Library Journal "Top Indie Fiction" selection
CBC Radio "Writer to Watch"
"A deft exploration of the heart and mind that offers the pathos of a Sam Shepard play nested within the unreliable storytelling of Christopher Nolan's Memento." -Kirkus Reviews
"Raises thought-provoking questions about the sometimes conflicting roles ambition, work, and loved ones play in a complex and fulfilled life." -Booklist
"In this beautifully written work, readers experience Martin's caught-breath panic and, as suspense mounts, anxious concern about what Martin was really doing on the road when he was injured." -Library Journal (starred review)
"Straddling the line between a page-turning mystery and a forensic examination of the relationship between brain and self, The Measure of Darkness marks Durcan as a writer to watch." -CBC Radio
"Durcan's scientific background is evident in the precision of his descriptions and the depth of his analysis of the novel's characters. And yet, the soul of a writer shines through on every page. Durcan's evocative imagery, talents for showing the multiple facets of human struggle, and seamless narrative structure are the marks of a true artist. Rarely does a modern novel resonate so well on so many levels." -Life in Quebec Magazine
"Durcan is masterly in portraying hemispatial brain injury from a patient's perspective. . . . [His] wry observations about the medical world are penetratingly accurate. . . . It's a pleasure to read this sophisticated novel and mull its scalpel-sharp perceptions about what causes us to make the life decisions we do." -Toronto Star
"[Durcan's] work at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital brings him into regular contact with neglect-afflicted patients, and in his second novel he puts what he has observed to great literary use, creating a complex, maddening and memorable protagonist whose struggle resonates well beyond his specific circumstance." -Montreal Gazette
"An evocative reminder that we are each the architects of our own lives." -Winnipeg Free Press
"Vividly rendered prose. . . . The Measure of Darkness strives to be more than an examination of what it is to have one's ambition thwarted, and ultimately succeeds on many levels in its characterization of what it is like to not just understand, but to actually experience that subjectivity-that reality itself, is determined by nothing more than the tenuous and delicate physical tissues of one's brain." -Ploughshares
"Encompass[es] many great issues-neglect of family relationships, aging, compassion, reconciliation, vision, aesthetics, even the stifled career of a Soviet architect-but most of all, [The Measure of Darkness is] a meditation on the limits of personal power. Slowly, quietly, inexorably, Durcan makes clear just how profound those limits are and that they are imposed both from within and without." -Best New Fiction
"Durcan cleverly uses the neurological condition that he clearly knows a lot about to demonstrate that everybody tends to neglect certain aspects of their lives, and yet they are unaware of their actions and unaware of the effect that this neglect has on other people." -MedHum Fiction | Daily Dose: Adventures at the Intersection of Medicine and Literature
"An intriguing and layered medical mystery." -Quill and Quire
"The Measure of Darkness seems, at first, to be about the mysterious odyssey and follies of a man with a rare neurological syndrome in which the victim cannot perceive half of the world, and worse, doesn't know he can't perceive it. Yet, as Liam Durcan's acutely observed, powerfully poetic prose-which can be sensitive or steely-builds to a gut-wrenching finale, we realize that this man is a metaphor for each of us and we are all haunted by the things we don't know we don't know." -NORMAN DOIDGE, author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain's Way of Healing
Praise for Liam Durcan
"Durcan takes us right into the nub of the neuroscientific conception of the self." -Globe and Mail
"[Durcan] has firmly ensconced himself within the hallowed ranks of doctors making successful forays into literature, a line running straight from Chekhov through William Carlos Williams and W. Somerset Maugham." -Quill and Quire
"[Durcan] already writes with an ease reminiscent of Graham Greene." -Library Journal