Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir

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Overview

At twenty-one, just as she was starting to comprehend the puzzles of adulthood, Sarah Manguso was faced with another: a wildly unpredictable autoimmune disease that appeared suddenly and tore through her twenties, paralyzing her for weeks at a time, programming her first to expect nothing from life and then, furiously, to expect everything. In this captivating story, Manguso recalls her struggle: arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, depression, the deaths of friends and strangers, ...

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The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir

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Overview

At twenty-one, just as she was starting to comprehend the puzzles of adulthood, Sarah Manguso was faced with another: a wildly unpredictable autoimmune disease that appeared suddenly and tore through her twenties, paralyzing her for weeks at a time, programming her first to expect nothing from life and then, furiously, to expect everything. In this captivating story, Manguso recalls her struggle: arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, depression, the deaths of friends and strangers, addiction, and, worst of all for a writer, the trite metaphors that accompany prolonged illness. A book of tremendous grace, The Two Kinds of Decay transcends the very notion of what an illness story can and should be.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE

A TIME OUT CHICAGO BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

A SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

“Manguso has produced a remarkable, clear-eyed account that turns horror into something humane and beautiful.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Moving . . . a fiercely truthful memoir of illness.”—The Boston Globe

“Here is not a day-by-day description of this grueling time, but an impressionistic text filled with bright, poetic flashes. . . . Many sick people learn to live in the moment, but the power of Manguso’s writing makes that truism revelatory.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Manguso’s slender volume is written in a sparese, no-nonsense style that can be chilling but makes you cheer for the author.”—New York Post

“Manguso writes this account from the far end of the illness, looking back on it from a position of physical strength, biting ferocity, and unsentimental wit.”—Bookforum

“A series of brief, elliptical vignettes composed of sentences as spare as they are unsparing . . . Manguso pushes beyond the familiar confrontation between doctor and patient to explore the linguistic confusion at the heart of the power struggle.”—Slate

“[A] stunning story . . . Manguso’s deadpan tone works equally well in service of the painful and funny moments, or when the two meet.”—Time Out Chicago

The New York Times Book Review

Manguso has produced a remarkable, clear-eyed account that turns horror into something humane and beautiful.
The Boston Globe

Moving . . . a fiercely truthful memoir of illness.
The Washington Post Book World

Here is not a day-by-day description of this grueling time, but an impressionistic text filled with bright, poetic flashes. . . . Many sick people learn to live in the moment, but the power of Manguso's writing makes that truism revelatory.
New York Post

Manguso's slender volume is written in a sparese, no-nonsense style that can be chilling but makes you cheer for the author.
Bookforum

Manguso writes this account from the far end of the illness, looking back on it from a position of physical strength, biting ferocity, and unsentimental wit.
Slate

A series of brief, elliptical vignettes composed of sentences as spare as they are unsparing . . . Manguso pushes beyond the familiar confrontation between doctor and patient to explore the linguistic confusion at the heart of the power struggle.
Time Out Chicago

[A] stunning story . . . Manguso's deadpan tone works equally well in service of the painful and funny moments, or when the two meet.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312428440
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 225,012
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

SARAH MANGUSO is the author of two books of poetry, and the short-story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape.

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Customer Reviews

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