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"Her book - which recounts a bruising year of being held captive by bipolar disorder, feeling alternately suicidal then high as a helium balloon, and enduring a hyperventilating, crushing, terrifying insanity - is an education in the history, mythology and poetics of madness, in all its wildness and glaring neon. Griffiths is a high-wire writer who performs the difficult trick of taking you into the depths of her madness ('I could feel my mind on a slant, every day more off-kilter, every night sleeping less') while managing to remain a completely reliable guide... Griffiths's subtle point is that in madness we live inside metaphors that offer a parallel understanding of what is real that is no less valid than any other, only less tenable. And they don't help one jot when you're hallucinating. Griffiths is an exciting and original thinker and her writing simply shimmers. Yet it also does sturdy duty by a certain kind of self-exposure - not the rambling, spilling, splurging of truths too long dammed up; and not the fetishised 'candour' that passes for honesty and that publishers' press releases call 'heart-wrenching', 'devastating' or 'searing'. This is self-exposure of a higher order." --The New Statesmen"Art and madness have always shadowed each other. Tristimania traces the shadow to its source and watches as it grows long. This is one of the bravest books I've read in a long time."--Paul Kingsnorth, Man Booker Prize finalist and author of The Wake "A book of terrible beauty; a dazzling testament to the moral and literary power of brokenness. I cried, shivered, and then laughed in gratitude for Griffiths's sheer bloody nerve."--Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast "A searing account of what it can feel like to be swallowed up by a major mental illness."--Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary "Griffiths invites us to follow her down the rabbit hole of the human mind, stretching back centuries to show how the world, our own psyche and language are all deeply connected. Her unique gift of language and wit are utterly captivating."--Nikolai Fraiture, The Strokes "A visceral account of the turmoil experienced within a manic-depressive breakdown... Griffiths is a skilled writer who ably harnesses this flood of emotions and thoughts . . . "--Kirkus "There is a bounty--nay, an excess--of erudition in this book." --New Welsh Review Praise for A Country Called Childhood "Jay Griffiths' A Country Called Childhood: Children and the Exuberant World, is an astonishment... a must-read for every parent, teacher, child psychiatrist, or psychologist, anyone who works with kids. Not an easy book, it is a necessary one."--Philadelphia Inquirer "What is fascinating about Griffith's book is how deftly and poetically she brings together stories and ideas from a vast body of literature and a wide range of cultures and individuals... In the deepest sense, A Country Called Childhood is a highly personal, passionate, and inspiring call to bring childhood back to its roots in nature and imagination."--Orion "A Country Called Childhood could have been written by no-one but Jay Griffiths. It is ablaze with her love of the physical world and her passionate moral sense that goodness and a true relation with nature are intimately connected. She has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn't just good--it's necessary."--Philip Pullman "Parents who love deep philosophical and critical thinking about the hot-button topic of over-parenting will relish A Country Called Childhood." --Parents Magazine "I didn't just read this book; I revelled in it. There's a rare vitality and robust energy . . . reading this book feels like playing in the woods. An unabashedly Romantic rallying cry for childhood. Playful and polemical, emotional and imaginative. As vital as play itself." --Independent ..".she adds a lush texture of myth and cultural reference that is often extremely seductive. She is strongest in the literary realm, and two chapters on woodland quest tales and fairy stories are very successful, weaving together a number of traditions to show how fundamental these mystical narratives are, and how necessary to a child's opening heart....The exuberance of her thought and of her prose is matched by the exuberance of her desire--that nature-starved children be granted the real outdoors, the unenclosed "Eden, common as chaffinches," not simply a few urban trees planted to shade a playground. That exuberant hope seems to me absolutely necessary today..." --The New Republic "Passionate, wilful and supremely honest." --Literary Review "Griffiths goes beyond the current debates on child-rearing practices--e.g., overstructured play, too much time online and too little quality family time -- and examines what she considers a more fundamental flaw: the separation of children from a natural environment...A provocative critique of modern society." --Kirkus "An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late."--Iain McGilchrist "A subterranean book. We excavate it to refine the secrets of childhood, our own, and many other childhoods in times and places far from ours. We join an underground resistance to the capital of grown-up greed, accountancy and profit. We rejoin the Bears."--John Berger "Griffiths (Wild, An Elemental Journey, 2006) is a committed and passionate author, who immerses herself in subjects with an impressive verve..." --Booklist "Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children." --KT Tunstall "A beautiful combination of expansive tenderness and fierce intolerance of pettiness. A Country Called Childhood is a call to live life intensely and authentically, vividly, and with grace, humour and passion. Griffiths has politicized awe and wonder and play." --Niall Griffiths "Jay Griffiths is one of our most poetic and passionate critics of the ways of civilisation; provocative, illuminating and shamelessly romantic." --Theodore Zeldin "Every time Jay Griffiths picks up a pen, whatever her subject, she cannot help spinning into every paragraph her passionate love of nature and wildness and our relationship with the physical world out there. Her writing is like a cave painting, telling as much of man as of beast and leaving us in awe of both."--John Lister-Kaye, The Scotsman "An impassioned and well-researched plea for the spirit of adventure to be instilled in the young."--Sun-Herald(Sydney) "Persuasive on how Western child-rearing is characterised by consumerism, "clockwork" overscheduling and enclosure, without adequate room for play in the natural world."--The Age "Jay Griffiths' works are original, inspiring and dare you to search beyond the accepted norm." Nikolai Fraiture, The Strokes Praise for Wild [also published as Savage Grace] "If bravery itself could write, it would write like she does."--John Berger "This is smart, edgy work, from an original and exciting mind. Jay Griffiths's voice is a light beam in the fog of twenty-first century debate."--Barry Lopez "A major book by a major writer"--Bill McKibben "Wild is an astonishing piece of writing, truly medicinal, beautiful, passionate and raw."--Ed O'Brien, Radiohead "Insightful, effervescent and lavishly written . . . She shrouds her amazingly strenuous physical journey with a rich literary penumbra."--Ruth Padel, The Washington Post Reseña del editor:
Where does 'self' end and 'illness' begin? Is manic depression a quintessential part of oneself, or quite the opposite: an illness which skews the self to its own image? Does the medication alter who you are? Does one become inauthentic in taking these mind-altering substances?
From the award-winning writer of A Country Called Childhood and Savage Grace comes author Jay Griffiths most personal work yet. On November 11th, after a long struggle to finish her bookWild, overwhelmed and beaten down by both exhaustion and stress, Griffiths felt herself began to slip into a bout of mania. Adding to both her genetic vulnerability and long-term stress, she experienced a sexual assault that would end up triggering a psychotic break in her psyche.
This extreme bout of manic-depression would lead to psychotic hallucinations, endless doctor visits and new medications that would take over her life for an entire year.Tristimania is a unique memoir in that Griffiths took notes throughout each episode. Having noted that people in manic periods often don’t remember them until they're in that stage again, Griffiths writes, When your mind is in flight, you don't leave tracks on the ground so there are no prints, neither footprints nor printed letters on the page. But I felt fiercely that I had to take notes that I had to mark the tracks of its passage.” With her detailed diary entries, Griffiths is able to bring readers directly into the heart of a manic-depressive episode, pulling the curtain back on how extraordinary and how tragic these feelings are.
Written in a similar vein as Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, Griffiths’ intimate and poetic style will be appreciated by many, as she shares her appreciation of the destructive powers of this particular mental illness.
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