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?Brilliant and painful and hilarious.? ?Antonya Nelson
On October 17, 2002, David MacLean ?woke up? on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.
Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. Soon he could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. All of these symptoms, it turned out, were the result ...
“Brilliant and painful and hilarious.” —Antonya Nelson
On October 17, 2002, David MacLean “woke up” on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.
Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. Soon he could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. All of these symptoms, it turned out, were the result of the commonly prescribed malarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself.
The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, drawn from David MacLean’s award-winning This American Life essay, is a deeply felt, closely researched, and intensely personal book. It asks every reader to confront the essential questions of our age: In our geographically and chemically fluid world, what makes me who I am? And how much can be stripped away before I become someone else entirely?
“If bad things are going to happen, we are lucky when they happen to someone with the wit, humanity and sweetness — to say nothing of an eye for detail and a gift for pacing — that MacLean brings to this wrenching tale . . . Readers who flip open the book will find MacLean, preserved between pages, goofy and serious, lost and found.” — Chicago Tribune
“A deeply moving account of amnesia that explores the quandary of the self . . . MacLean has written a memoir that combines the evocative power of William Styron’s Darkness Visible, the lyric subtlety of Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family, and the narrative immediacy of a Hollywood action film. He reminds us how we are all always trying to find a version of ourselves that we can live with.” — Los Angeles Times
“[MacLean] writes eloquently about the bizarre and disturbing experience of having his sense of self erased and then reconstructed from scratch.” — The New Yorker
“As harrowing as this territory is, MacLean makes an affable, sure-footed guide . . . Thanks to his raw, honest, and beautiful memoir, readers will already have a clear idea what his experience was like. We can be grateful MacLean has remembered so much, and so well.” — New York Times
“[A] vivid reflection on the ten years following the Lariam-induced break with reality and the memory problems that persisted in its wake . . . One author, a writer by trade, tells his story because it is a good one: dramatic and unique. The other tells a story, no less arresting, because she has a point to make. Both succeed impressively.” — New York Times Book Review
“Written in terse, vivid prose spiked with blackouts and violent hallucinations reminiscent of a Ken Kesey classic, MacLean’s story of the yearlong quest to regain his life reads like fiction, and reminds us that while memories may be painful, truth is all too often elusive.” — Mother Jones
“Incandescent . . . MacLean’s account is raw and unsparing, and will surely take you out of your comfort zone — the reader is immersed in the writer’s oblivion and his vertiginous journey of recovery — but the reward for sticking with it is the privilege of reading MacLean’s profound and finely nuanced meditation on memory and identity.” — Seattle Times
“MacLean fearlessly explores his journey to the edge of madness and his subsequent return to sanity in an unsettling, sometimes riotous, memoir.” — Publishers Weekly
“Mesmerizing.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Riveting, sad, and funny . . . Both a sharply written autobiography and an insightful meditation on how much our memories define our identities.” — Booklist
“A gripping medical mystery, a heartwarming personal journey, and a chilling indictment of the commonly prescribed drug that upended MacLean’s life — but left his superb literary skills intact.” — Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“A mesmerizing, unsettling memoir about the ever-echoing nature of identity, written in vivid, blooming detail.” — Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
Posted February 23, 2014
Posted June 9, 2014
Posted April 25, 2014
I'm not sure what I expected. Bought the book because heard an interview with the author on NPR and his situation sounded intriguing. Unfortunately the interview was all that was needed...the book didn't reveal very much about his situation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.