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"Melodious.... The last chapter is stunning in both senses of the word, gorgeous and shocking... A graceful, innovative writer.... Saunders's awareness of her own mortality has turned her into an omniscient eye."--New York Times A "courageous and singular book" (Andrew Solomon), Memory's Last Breath is an unsparing, beautifully written memoir--"an intimate, revealing account of living with dementia" (Shelf Awareness). Based on the "field notes" she keeps in her journal, Memory's Last Breath is Gerda Saunders' astonishing window into a life distorted by dementia. She writes about shopping trips cut short by unintentional shoplifting, car journeys derailed when she loses her bearings, and the embarrassment of forgetting what she has just said to a room of colleagues. Coping with the complications of losing short-term memory, Saunders, a former university professor, nonetheless embarks on a personal investigation of the brain and its mysteries, examining science and literature, and immersing herself in vivid memories of her childhood in South Africa. Written in a distinctive voice without a trace of self-pity, Memory's Last Breath is a remarkable, aphorism-free contribution to the literature of dementia.
About the Author
Gerda Saunders emigrated to the United States from South Africa in 1984. In 1996 she received a PhD in English from the University of Utah, where she later served as associate director of the Gender Studies Program. Saunders is the author of the short story collection Blessings on the Sheep Dog. She has spoken with the BBC and The Huffington Post about living with dementia, and is the subject of a series of short films being produced by VideoWest and featured on Slate.