The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty

Elizabeth L. Silver. Penguin Press, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-101-98144-3
Silver’s (The Execution of Noa P. Singleton) memoir of her newborn daughter’s medical trauma is smartly conceived and well written. Medical is a parenthetical for a reason: “Our story is nothing. A two week NICU stay with no surgery thus far. A fever.” But it doesn’t feel like nothing to Silver and her husband, the parents of a six-week-old with seizures caused by a potentially tragic grade IV bleed in her brain. For two weeks, there is nothing to do but bide time while tiny Abby is prodded and poked. They wait for a diagnosis, for a certainty that will not come. Several social workers question them closely, looking for signs of abuse, an added stress that only stops when a scan turns up no signs of trauma. At her daughter’s lowest point, Silver’s sister-in-law arranges for 40 women to bake challah while saying prayers for Abby’s recovery. Silver watches via Skype, her thoughts wandering to Les Miserables and Amadeus and the power of music, distracting the reader from what the more poignant power of dozens of strangers united in one hope. It is this reliance on tropes like Google searches and dictionary definitions that sometimes dulls the emotional heart of her otherwise excellent book. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 04/25/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-1036-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-6036-2
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-101-98145-0
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