Scar Tissue

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994 - 199 pages
At the heart of Michael Ignatieff's riveting novel about a woman's descent into neurological illness are the tangled threads of a Midwestern family, frayed by time and tragedy yet still connected - as much by pride, embarrassed love, and sibling rivalry as by the painful ties of familial loyalty. A philosophy professor watches helplessly as his mother sinks into the mysterious depths of an unknown illness. His efforts to understand her gradual deterioration - from innocently misplaced eyeglasses and endlessly repeated anecdotes to a total loss of identity - lead him to reach out to his estranged brother, a neurologist, to learn all he can of the disease. Yet medical science is as powerless as philosophy to help them comprehend what is happening to her and to them, to explain the relation between brain and mind, between memory and selfhood, between heart and soul. The narrator, distrusting the usual explanations for his mother's tragedy, begins, dangerously, to lose his own bearings, as he senses how deeply his family - and life - have been transformed. Yet Scar Tissue affirms the power of true understanding, and at the end: The owl is calling from the trees. Its hunt is about to begin. The moon hovers over the city and white light streams across the ivied floor of the park. I feel life calling me from this desk. I feel it bid me rise and walk out...

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SCAR TISSUE

User Review  - Kirkus

This often clinically detailed novel from Ignatieff (Asya, 1991; Blood and Belonging, p. 115) mourns a beloved parent and addresses various kinds of loss: of memory, of faith in conventional medicine ... Read full review

Scar tissue

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this fictionalized account of a mother's death from Alzheimer's disease told from the perspective of a son, Ignatieff (Asya, LJ 9/15/91) examines the relationships between life, consciousness ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Michael Ignatieff, born in Toronto in 1947. But at the age of 11, Ignatieff was sent to Toronto to attend Upper Canada College as a boarder in 1959. At UCC, Ignatieff was elected a school prefect as Head of Wedd's House, was the captain of the varsity soccer team, and served as editor-in-chief of the school's yearbook. As well, Ignatieff volunteered for the Liberal Party during the 1965 federal election by canvassing the York South riding. He resumed his work for the Liberal Party in 1968, as a national youth organizer and party delegate for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau party leadership campaign. He then went on to continue his education at the University of Toronto and Harvard and Cambridge universities. In 1976, Ignatieff completed his Ph.D in History at Harvard University. He was granted a Cambridge M.A. by incorporation in 1978 on taking up a fellowship at King's College there. Michael Ignatieff has written television programs for the BBC, novels, and works of nonfiction. He has also authored essays and reviews for several publications including The New York Times. From 1990-93, he wrote a weekly column on international affairs for The Observer. His family memoir, The Russian Album, received Canada's Governor General Award in 1988. His second novel, Scar Tissue, was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1993. Other nonfiction works include A Just Measure of Pain, the Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution and the Warrior's Honor: Ethic War and the Modern Conscience.

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