The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia

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9780544227705: The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia

“A mesmerizing, unsettling memoir about the ever-echoing nature of identity—written in vivid, blooming detail.” —Gillian Flynn, best-selling author of Gone Girl
 
On October 17, 2002, David MacLean “woke up” on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.
 
Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. He could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. His illness, it turned out, was the result of the commonly prescribed antimalarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the United States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself.
 
“[MacLean] is an exceedingly entertaining psychotic . . . [A] raw, honest and beautiful memoir.”—New York Times
 
“A deeply moving account of amnesia that explores the quandary of the self . . . MacLean has written a memoir that combines the evocative power of William Styron’s Darkness Visible, the lyric subtlety of Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and the narrative immediacy of a Hollywood action film. He reminds us how we are all always trying to find a version of ourselves that we can live with.”—Los Angeles Times
 
DAVID STUART MACLEAN is a PEN/American Award–winning writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and on the radio program This American Life. He has a PhD from the University of Houston and is a cofounder of the Poison Pen Reading Series.

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Book Description:

HMH hardcover, 2014, previous ISBN 978-0-547-51927-2

From the Inside Flap:

“Brilliant and painful and hilarious.” —Antonya Nelson

On October 17, 2002, David MacLean “woke up” on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity.

Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. Soon he could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. All of these symptoms, it turned out, were the result of the commonly prescribed malarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself.

The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, drawn from David MacLean’s award-winning This American Life essay, is a deeply felt, closely researched, and intensely personal book. It asks every reader to confront the essential questions of our age: In our geographically and chemically fluid world, what makes me who I am? And how much can be stripped away before I become someone else entirely?

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