Paperback review: Brain on fire, By Susannah Cahalan
Sunday 08 September 2013
Susannah Cahalan was a New York Post journalist – young, successful, with a bright future.
One day she found two red dots on her arm – bedbug bites? She began to get headaches, then paranoid delusions, followed by seizures, and plunged into a six-month nightmare where she forgot how to talk, walk and eat. The right hemisphere of her brain had become inflamed; as her neurologist put it, her brain was on fire. The strangest thing is that Cahalan remembers nothing – her account comes from medical reports, film footage of herself in hospital, testimony of friends and family, and her own fractured diary entries. This reads like a medical whodunnit, as doctors gradually diagnose her condition. The story has a happy end, but it's a scary reminder of how delicately balanced sanity and selfhood are.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
X Factor 2014 review: Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole clash over Rouge Kiss
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Exhibit B: 'Racist' human zoo installation criticised by protesters outside the Barbican
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke