"The beauty of Lauren Slater's prose is shocking," said Newsday about Welcome to My Country, and now, in this powerful and provocative new book, Slater brilliantly explores a mind, a body, and a life under siege. Diag-nosed as a child with a strange illness, brought up in a family given to fantasy and ambition, Lauren Slater developed seizures, auras, neurological disturbancesand an ability to lie. In Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, Slater blends a coming-of-age story with an electrifying exploration of the nature of truth, and of whether it is ever possible to tellor to knowthe facts about a self, a human being, a life.
Lying chronicles the doctors, the tests, the seizures, the family embarrassments, even as it explores a sensitive child's illness as both metaphor and a means of attention-gettinga human being's susceptibility to malady, and to storytelling as an act of healing and as part of the quest for love. This mesmerizing memoir openly questions the reliability of memoir itself, the trickiness of the mind in perceiving reality, the slippery nature of illness and diagnosisthe shifting perceptions and images of who we are and what, for God's sake, is the matter with us.
In Lying, Lauren Slater forces us to redraw the boundary between what we know as fact and what we believe we create as fiction. Here a young woman discovers not only what plagues her but also what heals herthe birth of sensuality, her creativityas an artistin a book that reaffirms how a fine writer can reveal what is common to us all in the course of telling her own unique story.
About Welcome to My Country, the San Francisco Chronicle said, "Every page brims with beautifully rendered images of thoughts, feelings, emotional states." The same can be said about Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir.
If fact is shaded with metaphor, does it become fiction? In a memoir that raises that question, the author of Prozac Diary and Welcome to My Country narrates a life marked by a disease she may or may not actually have. "I have epilepsy," she writes in the first chapter. "Or I feel I have epilepsy. Or I wish I had epilepsy, so I could find a way of explaining the dirty, spastic glittering place I had in my mother's heart." But was it epilepsy, or depression, or bipolar disorder, or Munchausen syndrome, or none of the above? And did Slater really undergo a corpus callostomy operation separating her right and left brain? Questions of authenticity aside, at its core this memoir touchingly describes the coming of age of a young girl who relies on illness to gain the attention of her narcissistic mother and ineffectual father, and who must find a way to navigate her parents' often vicious marriage and her own troubled adolescence. Slater, who says she must take anticonvulsant medication daily, had her first seizure the summer she turned 10. The symptoms of epilepsy function as a vehicle for her most potently written passages: dazzling hallucinations, teeth-grinding spasms, exuberant exaggerations. As often happens to those with illness, Slater moves from diagnosis to misdiagnosis to cure to redefinition and eventually to acceptance. In her afterword, the author explains that for personal and philosophical reasons, she had no choice but to transcribe her life in "a slippery, playful, impish, exasperating text, shaped, if it could be, like a question mark." The skill with which she achieves her goal reflects unusual insight. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|