Radiation Diaries: Cancer, Memory and Fragments of a Life in Words

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This frank, refreshingly unpretentious book is remarkably true to its title: it records the day-by-day struggles of a well-read, accomplished writer and academic who is facing grueling radiation treatments for recurrent cancer. The author seems to be writing mostly to preserve her own sense of identity and sanity, rather than with an eye on publication, and thus the entries often read like shorthand “notes to self,” jottings of a cultivated mind trapped in a state of distress, insomnia and discomfort (as well as frustration due to the bureaucracy of Britain’s National Health Service). As such, they reveal brutally honest details about the physical indignities of being treated for cancer. However, these mundane details are illuminated, sometimes with dazzling effect, by remembered quotations from the author’s favorite writers: Jane Austen, John Milton, Dylan Thomas, and many others. The result is an engaging yet self-aware chronicle of the mind’s astonishing resilience in the face of bodily degradation. Cancer patients and survivors will relate to much of this book and will find plenty of sympathy and inspiration in its pages, but general readers too are likely to appreciate Todd’s openness and keen sensibility.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 208 pages
Publisher Fentum Press
Publish Date 2018-Oct-08
ISBN 9781909572171
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue March 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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