Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff
Filed under: Book Reviews,Man Booker Prize — Ibis at 8:30 pm on Sunday, June 6, 2010

From the jacket:
“At the heart of Michael Ignatieff’s disquieting novel of a woman’s descent into illness are the tangled threads of a family, strained by tragedy yet still tenuously connected.

An anguished philosophy professor watches his dying mother’s measured steps into the mysterious depths of neurological illness: the misplaced glasses, kitchen catastrophes, and anecdotes told over and over to a family overcome with fearful sympathy. His strenuous efforts to make sense of his mother’s suffering lead him to learn all he can about her illness, renewing contact with his neurologist brother in the process. But medical science can do nothing to ease loss, and genetics now routinely predicts destinies that medicine is powerless to avert.

More than a tale of isolated tragedy, Scar Tissue explores the fragile lines of memory, their configuration in identity, and the ways in which both are at one moment formed and the next shattered. Nominated for the Booker Prize, Scar Tissue is an intensely personal novel about family, love in all its guises, and the ultimate triumph of life over loss.”

My thoughts:
This is the kind of book I’m normally thoroughly uninterested in reading. Disease (or disability) and people’s response to it are turn-offs when it comes to reading selection for me. If I want to experience a root canal, I’ll petition a dentist, if lameness, I could shoot myself in the foot. If I have to deal with my mother dying of Alzheimer’s, once will be enough. I don’t need a sneak preview.

I only wished to read it because this was the novel for which Michael Ignatieff got on the Booker shortlist. I hadn’t read anything by him and wanted to (start to) get a feel for him through his work, seeing as he could be Prime Minister some day (though that’s looking less and less likely). Can I say I enjoyed his writing without enjoying the book? Just a little too absorbed with the whole mental deterioration thing. It’s just not to my taste. If this is the kind of topic you like, it’s well worth reading. Lot’s of contemplation about what makes self, and how self-consciousness and self are integrated. Not sure how autobiographical it is, since it came across as incredibly authentic. On the plus side, I’d be very interested in reading more by him.

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