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Perhaps no one but Kay Redfield Jamison–who combines the acute perceptions of a psychologist with a writerly elegance and passion–could bring such a delicate touch to the subject of losing a spouse to cancer. In direct, straightforward, and at times strikingly lyrical prose, Jamison looks back at her relationship with her husband, Richard Wyatt, a renowned scientist who battled debilitating dyslexia to become one of the foremost experts on schizophrenia. And with her characteristic honesty, candor, wit, and simplicity, she describes his death, her own long, difficult struggle with grief, and her efforts to distinguish grief from depression.
But she also recalls the great joy that Richard brought her during the nearly twenty years they had together. Wryly humorous anecdotes mingle with bittersweet memories of a relationship that was passionate and loving–if troubled on occasion by her manic-depressive (bipolar) illness–as Jamison reveals the ways in which her husband encouraged her to write openly about her mental illness and, through his courage and grace taught her to live fully.
A penetrating psychological study of grief viewed from deep inside the experience itself, Nothing Was the Same is also a deeply moving memoir by a superb writer.
“A cleared-eyed view of illness and death, sanity and insanity, love and grief. . . . Spare. . . . Poetic. . . . Piercing. . . . The great gift Jamison offers here, beyond her honesty and the beauty of her writing, is perspective. . . . To write the truth with such passion and grace is remarkable enough. To do this in loving memory of a partner is tribute indeed.”–The Washington Post
“In An Unquiet Mind, Kay Jamison wrote with exceptional bravery and grace about living through mania, paralyzing depressions, and a suicide attempt. Here, with the same strength of mind and sweetness of spirit, she writes about her husband’s [death] as well as her own struggles with loss and grief. . . . Because Jamison understands depression so well, she is able to make the distinctions between depression and grief with great precision and sensitivity.”–The Boston Globe
“Fascinating. . . . Captivating. . . . As one who has experienced clinical depression, [Jamison] is in a singular position to compare it with grief . . . . In this slim, intense memoir Jamison shows us that mourning leads us back to life.”–Michael Greenberg, The New York Times Book Review
“A meditation on grief as necessary and inevitable, and not to be confused with mental illness. . . . Insightful. . . . Elegantly written. . . . It’s a credit to the warmth and intimacy of Jamison’s voice that we connect with her underlying message: Tragedy doesn’t discriminate.”–Los Angeles Times
“A wonderful book. Jamison has the ability to make love seem so real and reachable; her writing always makes me happy to speak and write the English language. It contains great beauty.”
–Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad
“This is a finely told midlife love story, a romance as elegant as it is doomed. . . . What a couple she and her husband made! . . . Jamison writes simply and believably.”–AARP Magazine
“Sober yet heartening. . . . Jamison is at her most insightful drawing distinctions between [mental illness] and mourning.”–The Washingtonian