A gorgeous memoir of an unthinkable life: a young woman writes of the sensitivity to light that has forced her to live in darkness and of the love that has saved her.
"Something is afoot within me that I do not understand, the breaking of a contract that I thought could not be broken, a slow perverting of my substance."
Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world that, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty.
And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna's savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, and even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself, "By continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children nor a public companion nor a welcoming home--do I do wrong?" With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love and the world anew.
"Curtis is a strong narrator whose mixture of emotion and careful detachment is able to make the listener believe that it is her own story she's telling. It's a powerful performance. Many books are improved by listening if the performance is excellent, but there are few that convey a greater understanding of the subject matter through listening than reading." (AudioFile)
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This is a great book
- Karen "Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty."
Poetic look at an unusual life
Definitely! Hannah Curtis BECAME Anna Lindsay. She is dry and whitty when needed, in the depths of despair when called for.
Anna, of course, and Pete, who loves her and supports her and treats her like a human, not just someone with a disability/
yes! It is short enough to read on a long road trip, detailing all the ways Anna lives a happy and fulfilled life, with her hopes and dreams and successes and setbacks.
Terrific book! In some ways, ehr experiences are similar to living with blindness, yet very different. She is all-too-human, with an unusual disability, trying to find a way to carve out a fulfilling life outside the presence of many forms of light.
What a fighter!