American Ghosts: A Memoir

American Ghosts: A Memoir

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by David Plante
     
 

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Celebrated novelist David Plante grew up in an isolated, French-speaking community in Providence, Rhode Island, where nuns preserved the beliefs of le grand Canada amidst the profound presence of their deep, dark God. Caught between his silent, part-Blackfoot father and his vivacious but trapped mother, Plante flees this small world, losing his belief in any god and

Overview

Celebrated novelist David Plante grew up in an isolated, French-speaking community in Providence, Rhode Island, where nuns preserved the beliefs of le grand Canada amidst the profound presence of their deep, dark God. Caught between his silent, part-Blackfoot father and his vivacious but trapped mother, Plante flees this small world, losing his belief in any god and finding the center of his life in love and in writing. Still, the ghosts of his past haunt Plante and drive him to embark on a stunning spiritual and physical journey.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This wonderful book takes on what may be the hardest questions by allowing this most observant individual to see and hear in miraculous detail. How, it asks, does any person become American, let alone find a place in the breathing cathedral that is this majestic universe?—Jane Vandenburgh, Boston Globe

"A memoir full of doubts and hesitations, a self-scouring undertaken with resolute frankness and considerable stylistic grace . . . Plante shows that origins can work on the spirit with a force as strong as gravity."—Sven Birkets, New York Times Book Review

"A book, and a life . . . consumed with exploration and examination. It is about asking hard questions, and making hard judgments, and rummaging, mercilessly, through the hidden recesses of a mind that never rests . . . Remarkable. And memorable."—David M. Shribman, Toronto Globe and Mail

"Brave and touching . . . In [Plante's] new understanding of his dark heritage and his dark longings, he offers a strange, mysterious, and deeply hopeful sense of spiritual possibility."—Valerie Sayers, Commonweal

"As a heedful exploration of a psyche, a record of a vulnerable, likeable man's encounters with his memories, and a candid, unprotected disclosure of the wrestling between flesh and spirit, American Ghosts may be unsurpassed."—Ron Hansen, America

"An emotionally disturbing and spiritually exhilarating tale."—Sam Coale, Providence Journal

Sven Birkerts
American Ghosts is a memoir full of doubts and hesitations, a self-scouring undertaken with resolute frankness and considerable stylistic grace. The isolation and sorrow that permeate the opening pages are intense enough to saturate the rest of the book. Throughout, Plante shows that, despite the different path his life has taken, he is very much a product of his long-suffering family's ethos, confirming that origins can work on the spirit with a force as strong as gravity.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Haunted by the visible and invisible spirits of his life, Plante embarks on a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Traveling through a past littered with the ghosts of his ethnic lineage (French Canadian), his family heritage, his sexuality and his writing life, he searches to make sense of his spiritual longings and his physical desires. Plante (Difficult Women, etc.) was raised in a French Catholic parish in Providence, R.I., and his earliest memories revolve around his parochial school days, where the nuns sent mixed messages of religious piety and physical longing. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Plante struggles to fulfill his longings to find God and to understand his family's religious and geographical roots. During his college years, he abandons the search for the God of his childhood, believing any picture of God must allow for the sensual as well as the spiritual. After college, he journeys across Europe, trying to find a way to express his sensual and spiritual longings, discovering that in writing he's found a way to name the pull between the religious and the physical. For Plante, writing becomes a spiritual activity that allows him to understand himself, his family and the world around him. Not so much a memoir as a beautiful diary of the making of a writer, Plante's evocative work hauntingly resurrects the ghosts residing in his life. (Jan. 2005) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Section I: General Considerations

Chapter 1: History of Spine Injections

Chapter 2: Therapeutic Agents for Spine Injection: Local Anesthetics, Steroids, Contrast Media

Chapter 3: Fluoroscopy, Ultrasound, CT, and Radiation Safety

Section II: Peripheral Nerve Blocks

Chapter 4: Differential Diagnostic Nerve Blocks

Chapter 5: Head and Neck Blocks

Chapter 6: Upper Extremity Peripheral Nerve Blockade

Chapter 7: Lower Limb Blocks

Chapter 8: Cervical and Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks

Chapter 9: Nerve destruction for the alleviation of visceral pain

Chapter 10: Peripheral Applications of Ultrasound for Chronic Pain

Section III: Injections for Back Pain

Chapter 11: Therapeutic Epidural Injections: Interlaminar&Transforaminal

Chapter 12: Facet (zygapophyseal) Intraarticular Joint Injections: Cervical, Lumbar and Thoracic

Chapter 13: Medial Branch Blocks: Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar

Chapter 14: Radiofrequency rhizotomy for facet syndrome

Chapter 15: Sacroiliac joint injections and lateral branch blocks including water-cooled neurotomy

Chapter 16: Pulsed Radiofrequency

Chapter 17: Discogenic Pain and Discography for Spinal Injections

Chapter 18: Minimally Invasive Intradiscal Procedures for the treatment of discogenic lower back and leg pain

Chapter 19: Vertebral Augmentation

Chapter 20: Ultrasound-guided lumbar spine injections

Chapter 21: Ultrasound-guided Cervical Spine Injections

Chapter 22: Musculoskeletal Injections: Iliopsoas/quadratus lumborum, piriformis, trigger point injections

Chapter 23: Ultrasound and Fluoroscopic Guided Joint Injections

Kirkus Reviews
From novelist Plante (The Age of Terror, 1999, etc.), an often-lyrical memoir of religion lost, sexual identity discovered, vocation found, and near-madness born of obsession. This time out, Plante crafts a coming-of-age story that's often surprising and illuminating, but sometimes conventional and even a tad dull. The author, who has Blackfoot ancestors, begins when he's seven and afraid of the ghost of an Indian he imagines seeing in the neighborhood woods, and he ends with accounts of a close friend, novelist Mary Gordon, attempting to help him rediscover his Catholicism, and of his journeys to France in search of the burial records of some 17th-century Plantes. The boyhood portions are striking, none more so than the memory of a nun at school who appears to have an attraction for the young student. Helping him dress for a school play, she lightly touches the nape of his neck: "My body began to shake." His body shakes later on, too, especially when, during a college year abroad, he hooks up with his first gay sex partner, a strange man named Oci. The pair travel around Europe together, and much later Oci dies of what seems to be AIDS. Plante eventually finds his permanent partner, a young Greek named Nikos, and then discovers that he is flirting with insanity as he tries to understand the images that haunt him. For a time, he records them in a journal at night, one image per page; after two years, he has 650 pages. What do they mean? Why do they keep him awake? Why does he write so obsessively that even Nikos has trouble getting his attention? Like several other memoirists, Plante assumes that substantial passages from his journals or commonplace books are interesting when often theyaren't. The final short passage, a French prayer once overheard, suggests that he has achieved a sort of epiphanic peace. A talented writer wrestles with demons, endeavoring to define and thus restrain-if not defeat-them. Agent: Sterling Lord/Sterling Lord Literistic

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807072653
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
01/11/2006
Edition description:
None
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 8.05(h) x 0.85(d)

Read an Excerpt

Professor of Anesthesiology
Senior Associate Chair for Academic Affairs
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Chief, Division of Pain Medicine
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Chicago, IL

Meet the Author

David Plante is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the Francoeur trilogy-The Family, The Woods, and The Country-as well as a work of nonfiction, Difficult Women: A Memoir of Three. His work has appeared in many periodicals, The New Yorker and The Paris Review among them, and has been nominated for a National Book Award. He teaches writing at Columbia University and lives in New York and London.

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American Ghosts 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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