Alzheimer’s Disease in Contemporary U.S. Fiction
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This volume seeks to bring readers to a deeper understanding of contemporary cultural and social configurations of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing 21st-century U.S. novels in which the disease plays a key narrative role.
Via analysis of selected works, Garrigós considers how the erasure of memory in a person with Alzheimer’s affects our idea of the identity of that person and their sense of belonging to a group. Starting out from three different types of memory (individual, social and cultural), the study focuses on the narrative strategies that authors use to configure how the disease is perceived and represented.
This study is significant not only because of what the texts reveal about those with Alzheimer’s, but also for what they say about us - about the authors and readers who are producing and consuming these texts, about how we see this disease, and what our attitudes to it say about contemporary U.S. society.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Fiction of Alzheimer’s.
Chapter 2: Degenerative Mental Illnesses and Death in Jonathan Franzen’s "My Father’s Brain" and The Corrections.
Chapter 3: Ida Mancini’s Memory Loss in Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke.
Chapter 4: The American Dream and Alzheimer’s in Matthew Thomas’s We Are not Ourselves.
Chapter 5: Satire in Stefan Merrill Block’s The Story of Forgetting.
Chapter 6: When Alzheimer’s Hides the Truth: Alice La Plante’s Crime Fiction A Turn of Mind.
Chapter 7: Ruth Ozeki’s Zen perspective in All Over Creation and A Tale for the Time Being.
Chapter 8: The Resilience of a Black Family in the face of Alzheimer’s: Marita Golden’s The Wide Circumference of Love.
Chapter 9: Can Alzheimer’s be Portrayed with Humor? Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin.
Cristina Garrigós is Professor of American Literature at the National University of Distance Education (UNED), where she has been teaching since 2015. She holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Seville and an M.A in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at different universities in Spain and the U.S. Her research interests include U.S. contemporary literature, Postmodernism, film, music, and gender. She is the author of a monograph on John Barth, as well as the editor of Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote in Spanish; she co-authored the book of interviews God Save the Queens: Pioneras del Punk (66 rpm 2019), and has co-edited several conference proceedings and collective volumes such as 11 septiembre y la tradición disidente en los Estados Unidos (UP. Valencia), or the dossier on Punk Connections: A Transcultural Perspective in the journal Lectora (U. of Barcelona). She has published articles and book chapters on authors such as John Barth, Kathy Acker, Gloria Anzaldúa, Giannina Braschi, Rabih Alameddine, Helena María Viramontes, Don DeLillo, Richard Powers, Jonathan Franzen, or Ruth Ozeki, among others.