Matthew's Enigma: A Father's Portrait of His Autistic Son

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$16.89
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $15.84   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   

Overview

Matthew's Enigma unfolds the complex relationship between a father, who is a Romanian emigré and distinguished university professor, and his son, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 7 years old. Matei Calinescu's desire to understand Matthew—his namesake—is the theme of this moving memoir. Calinescu's determined search for the meaning of his son's enigmatic illness continues even after Matthew's sudden death at age 25. Reminiscences about Matthew's life are interwoven with observations of his behavior and reflections on the difficulties that autistic persons encounter in social situations. Drawing from journals that he kept, beginning with Matthew's birth, as well as from his experience as a scholar of literature and philosophy and a reader of psychologists' and brain scientists' writings about autism, Calinescu has composed an inspiring and lyrical essay about love and illness, memory and forgetfulness, sociability and alienation.

Indiana University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

PW Annex Reviews

"Beyond the appeal to parents, teachers and caregivers of special needs individuals, Calinescu's story offers vivid lessons in acceptance: 'All people are different, and the degree of difference does not matter.'" —PW Annex Reviews, March 9, 2009

Nuvo

"... Calinescu’s memoir... offers crisp insights into the autistic mind, while demonstrating the real gifts of parenthood: the chance to know another human well, to accept your differences and, on good days, to glory in them." —Nuvo, May 13, 2009

Temple Grandin

"Great insight from a father's perspective on living with an autistic child, especially the parts of the book that describe how this father served as a mentor for his autistic son. They had a great relationship." —Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

Deborah Barnbaum

"Through both real-time diary entries and passages written with the wisdom of time, [Calinescu] creates a compelling picture.... Among the best-written portraits of a son with autism and a father's desire to understand him." —Deborah Barnbaum, author of The Ethics of Autism

Norman Manea

"[Matthew's Enigma ] is at once the journal of a father following closely the development of his son with autism, from childhood to a youth brutally interrupted by death, and a detailed study of the literature on autism, full of personal insights.... This extraordinary book is a profound meditation on the fragility and the enigma of human existence itself." —Norman Manea, author of On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist

Cathy Pratt

"Matthew was a gentle and kind young man who left this world too early. Matthew's Enigma highlights the various stages of his life from birth to his early death at age 25 and provides thoughtful commentary and insights into the various aspects of autism." —Cathy Pratt, Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

From the Publisher
"... Calinescu’s memoir... offers crisp insights into the autistic mind, while demonstrating the real gifts of parenthood: the chance to know another human well, to accept your differences and, on good days, to glory in them." —Nuvo, May 13, 2009

"Matthew was a gentle and kind young man who left this world too early. Matthew's Enigma highlights the various stages of his life from birth to his early death at age 25 and provides thoughtful commentary and insights into the various aspects of autism." —Cathy Pratt, Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

"Through both real-time diary entries and passages written with the wisdom of time, [Calinescu] creates a compelling picture.... Among the best-written portraits of a son with autism and a father's desire to understand him." —Deborah Barnbaum, author of The Ethics of Autism

Publishers Weekly
Comparative literature professor Calinescu (Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism) steps back from academia with this memoir of parenthood, a tribute to his late, autistic son Matthew, "a being apart... not a university professor of course, but a professor all the same, a shy, discreet, taciturn teacher of angelic wisdom and of the ineffable." Diagnosed with autism as a child and with epilepsy as a teen, much regarding Matthew's behavior and health remained a mystery even after diagnosis, a situation many parents will recognize, especially those with children on the autism spectrum. Calinescu explores the history of autism and Asperger's syndrome, discussing medical literature and his own memories with equal comfort and grace. Calinescu is a keen witness, and his 25 years of observation have produced a loving exploration of autism's causes and effects, its impact on the individual and the family, the unexpected ways it complicates daily life and the differences that make an autistic individual stand out. Beyond the appeal to parents, teachers and caregivers of special needs individuals, Colinescu's story offers vivid lessons in acceptance: "All people are different, and the degree of difference does not matter."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253220660
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 2/4/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Matei Calinescu is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington. His books include Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism and Rereading. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Angela Jianu has translated The Hooligan's Return by Norman Manea from Romanian.

Indiana University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Pages from an Old Diary
2. "Anyone's Death Is a Great Tragedy"
3. Further Pages from the Old Diary
4. Mater Dolorosa
5. Pages from the Notebook with Black Covers (1985)
6. The Story of an Autistic Missionary
7. Further Pages from the Notebook with Black Covers (1985-1986)
8. Reading and Play
9. On the Autistic Personality—A Stray Note
10. About Compassion
11. Ages 16 to 20, from Diary about Matthew (1993-1997)
12. Matthew's Sense of Humor
13. At 20: The Ages of Matthew, from Diary about Matthew (1997)
14. When Matthew Was 25...
15. Julian's Visit
16. Questions without an Answer
Postscript (2004)
Works Cited

Indiana University Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)