1st Edition

Alzheimer’s Disease in Contemporary U.S. Fiction Memory Lost

By Cristina Garrigós Copyright 2021
    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.



    PART I 

    Individual Memory 

    1 The Three Lessons on Alzheimer’s in Lisa Genova’s Still Alice 

    2 Memory Blanks, Confinement, and Mystery in Alice LaPlante’s Turn of Mind. 


    PART II 

    Social Memory 

    3 Matthew Thomas’s We Are Not Ourselves: Alzheimer’s and the Failure of the American Dream 

    4 Interdependence and Memorial Identity in Marita Golden’s The Wide Circumference of Love 

    5 Memory Loss and Infantilization in Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin 



    Cultural Memory 

    6 The Amnesiac Rapture of Alzheimer’s: Stefan Merrill Block’s The Story of Forgetting 

    7 Satire in Chuck Palahniuk’s Representation of Alzheimer’s Disease in Choke 

    8 Ruth Ozeki’s Alzheimer’s as Cultural Forgetting in All over Creation and A Tale for the Time Being 





    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.