Friday, July 14, 2023

Top ten books about awakenings

Anna Metcalfe was born in Germany. Her short fiction has been published in The Best British Short Stories, The Dublin Review, and Lighthouse Journal,among other places, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize and the Sunday Times Short Story Award. She is the author of a story collection, Blind Water Pass, which was published in the UK. She teaches creative writing at the University of Birmingham. Chrysalis is her first novel.

At the Guardian Metcalfe tagged ten books that "contain both literal and metaphorical awakenings. As well as the disparate states of dreaming and wakefulness, they also illuminate what connects the two." One title on the list:
Awakenings by Oliver Sacks

In the opening sections of this medical memoir, Sacks describes his patients’ catatonic state: “They would be conscious and aware – yet not fully awake; they would sit motionless and speechless all day in their chairs, totally lacking energy, impetus, initiative, motive, appetite, affect or desire.” They are suffering from encephalitis lethargica – “sleeping sickness” – and Sacks is telling the story of their responses to the drug L-Dopa. Their illness has separated them not just from family, friends and society, but also from more fundamental things such as language and feeling. Their awakenings are remarkable in that they are in fact re-awakenings, the recovery of long-absent selves.
Read about another entry on the list.

Awakenings is among Marina Benjamin's top ten books about insomnia.

--Marshal Zeringue