THE NOONDAY DEMON: An Atlas of Depression

Andrew Solomon, Author, Andrew Solomon, Read by , read by the author. Simon & Schuster Audio $26 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7435-2321-9

Calling depression the "flaw of love," 2001 National Book Award–winner Solomon (A Stone Boat) brings a stunning breadth of research to this widely misunderstood and often stigmatized illness. At least 19 million Americans suffer from chronic depression, and Solomon concedes its diagnosis and treatment are as complex as the illness. The eloquent, cerebral prose distinguishing his book (the writing of which, he says, consumed his life for five years), is mirrored in Solomon's equally articulate and refined reading style, marked by traces of a crisp British accent and a consistent, soothing tone. While outlining the major treatments, Solomon's discussion covers brain chemistry, the classes of antidepressants and their possible effects and efficacy rates, as well as the successful resurgence of electroshock therapy, talk therapy, surgical options and alternative therapies (e.g., herbal, homeopathic and hypnosis). Some laypersons may find the audio format ill-adapted for this technical portion. However, Solomon's unequivocal candor about his own at times incapacitating struggle with depression, and the compassionate, hopeful perspective he conveys more than makes up for this. Loaded with personal anecdotes, snippets of letters, interviews and recalled conversations with fellow sufferers, this audio creates a sense of intimacy many listeners may find therapeutic. Based on the Scribner hardcover (Forecasts, May 14, 2001). (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 04/01/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
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