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Scar Tissue

by

At the heart of Michael Ignatieff's riveting novel about a woman's descent into neurological illness are the tangled threads of a Midwestern family, frayed by time and tragedy yet still connected - as much by pride, embarrassed love, and sibling rivalry as by the painful ties of familial loyalty. A philosophy professor watches helplessly as his mother sinks into the mysterious depths of an unknown illness. His efforts to understand her gradual deterioration - from innocently misplaced eyeglasses and endlessly repeated anecdotes to a total loss of identity - lead him to reach out to his estranged brother, a neurologist, to learn all he can of the disease. Yet medical science is as powerless as philosophy to help them comprehend what is happening to her and to them, to explain the relation between brain and mind, between memory and selfhood, between heart and soul. The narrator, distrusting the usual explanations for his mother's tragedy, begins, dangerously, to lose his own bearings, as he senses how deeply his family - and life - have been transformed. Yet Scar Tissue affirms the power of true understanding, and at the end: "The owl is calling from the trees. Its hunt is about to begin. The moon hovers over the city and white light streams across the ivied floor of the park. I feel life calling me from this desk. I feel it bid me rise and walk out..." Hide synopsis

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