Friday, September 14, 2007

Spikes in the Brain, and a Search for Answers

William Grimes review of the book My Lobotomy by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming is well worth reading even if you don't plan to read the book. Grimes uses the narrative of the book to point to the ambiguities and complexities of recalling a life, particularly a life marked by a dramatic traumatic experience.

Surprise Visit

I had a chance to read a story titled "Surprise Visit" by Antonia White. As fiction it recounts the story of a 38 year old woman who visits Bethlem Hospital after its conversion into a war museum. Having been a patient in that hospital 15 years earlier, she re-experiences her feelings from that time in a way that allows the reader to experience something of what a flashback must be like. The story appears in the book Strangers by White. In the introduction to that book Hermione Lee compares "Surprise Visit" to "The Yellow Wallpaper," which seems an apt comparison to me. White had indeed spent much of her 23rd year in a psychiatric hospital and the story has the quality of a memoir. For more on White try the link to the Wikipedia article on her.