Memories of Amnesia

Lawrence Shainberg, Author
Lawrence Shainberg, Author Paris Review $16.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-945167-00-6
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
What happens to a neurosurgeon when his own brain becomes unhinged? In this grimly fascinating, frightening and painfully funny novel, seasoned brain surgeon Izzac Drogin swings between panic, false elation, immobility, fits and denial as he experiences symptomsfirst of amnesia, then of epilepsy and worse. Between her yoga classes and requests for a separation, his wife Millie (or is it Marjorie? or Martha?) accuses him of faking his forgetfulness; her martial arts instructor checks out his vibrations; Izzy's father, also a neurosurgeon, tries to map his troubled circuits; and his mother believes his growing incoherence is a ploy to evade adult responsibilities. Only a colleague, Eli, gets to the bottom of his condition, and the craniotomy he performs with Drogin's assistance must be every neurosurgeon's darkest fantasydirect visual and manual exploration of one's own neurological labyrinth. Shainberg, author of the nonfiction Brain Surgeon , here probes the mind's fragile grip on reality and sense of self. The reader's head is set spinning in a novel that says: it could happen to any of us. (September)
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