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A hug is duct tape for the soul.

From The New York Times:
 It can’t be coincidence that as more of us confront the anguish of dementia, artists are becoming intrigued with shifting memory and altered personality, with dementia’s deeply unsettling effect on the self and on others.

I’ve come across a song called “Do I Know You?” by jazz singer Cynthia Scott, and a collection of poems about Alzheimer’s disease called “Beyond Forgetting.” The latest novel from the prolific Walter Mosley, whose mother died of dementia, features a 91-year-old protagonist offered a magical (and nonexistent) drug that can restore full mental clarity for a few months, after which it will kill him. In a wonderful memoir called “Keeper,” Andrea Gillies describes her family’s struggles with her demented mother-in-law.

This week I’ve spent several intense hours in the company of a Chicago surgeon named Dr. Jennifer White, who on some days can effortlessly rattle off all the bones and tendons of the hand and on other days can’t recognize her two children or recall that her lifelong best friend has been murdered. The haunting creation of California writer Alice LaPlante, Dr. White narrates the new novel “Turn of Mind.” She is by turns sarcastic, apathetic, funny, tender, aggressive, paranoid. Or perhaps not paranoid: the police suspect her of killing her friend, so they really are out to get her.

Ms. LaPlante, another adult child losing her mother to Alzheimer’s, is less concerned with the detective-novel mystery than with the deeper one: What does it feel like to lose your mind and to know that you are losing your mind? There’s no magic pill for Dr. White, who by the end of the novel has sunk so deeply into her disease that another narrator, nameless, has to take over the tale. Yet Ms. LaPlante renders her with such precision and affection that while Dr. White eventually forgets almost everything, she has become unforgettable.

Original article.

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