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The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia

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The debut of an important new literary voice: an extraordinarily affecting, fiercely intelligent memoir that unflinchingly traces the path of the schizophrenia that runs in the author's family. Against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Anchorage, Alaska, where the author grew up, Marin Sardy weaves a fearless account of the shapeless thief--the schizophrenia--that kept he The debut of an important new literary voice: an extraordinarily affecting, fiercely intelligent memoir that unflinchingly traces the path of the schizophrenia that runs in the author's family. Against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Anchorage, Alaska, where the author grew up, Marin Sardy weaves a fearless account of the shapeless thief--the schizophrenia--that kept her mother immersed in a world of private delusion and later manifested in her brother, ultimately claiming his life. Composed of exquisite, self-contained chapters that, cumulatively, take us through three generations of this adventurous, artistic, and often haunted family, The Edge of Every Day is an inquiry into our assumptions about how the mind can and should work--and a referendum on the treatment of the mentally ill in our society. As she explores the contours of cognition, Sardy also pushes the boundaries of her prose: one chapter is composed of quotes from family members talking about her mother. Another leads us through "loops" of past memory and current experience as she and her husband begin to merge their lives together. Through it all is Sardy's blazing compassion and relentless curiosity: her meditations take us to the very edge of love and loss--and invite us to look at what comes after.


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The debut of an important new literary voice: an extraordinarily affecting, fiercely intelligent memoir that unflinchingly traces the path of the schizophrenia that runs in the author's family. Against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Anchorage, Alaska, where the author grew up, Marin Sardy weaves a fearless account of the shapeless thief--the schizophrenia--that kept he The debut of an important new literary voice: an extraordinarily affecting, fiercely intelligent memoir that unflinchingly traces the path of the schizophrenia that runs in the author's family. Against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Anchorage, Alaska, where the author grew up, Marin Sardy weaves a fearless account of the shapeless thief--the schizophrenia--that kept her mother immersed in a world of private delusion and later manifested in her brother, ultimately claiming his life. Composed of exquisite, self-contained chapters that, cumulatively, take us through three generations of this adventurous, artistic, and often haunted family, The Edge of Every Day is an inquiry into our assumptions about how the mind can and should work--and a referendum on the treatment of the mentally ill in our society. As she explores the contours of cognition, Sardy also pushes the boundaries of her prose: one chapter is composed of quotes from family members talking about her mother. Another leads us through "loops" of past memory and current experience as she and her husband begin to merge their lives together. Through it all is Sardy's blazing compassion and relentless curiosity: her meditations take us to the very edge of love and loss--and invite us to look at what comes after.

55 review for The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia

  1. 5 out of 5

    E.B.

    A painful and beautiful account of what it means to live with and love someone suffering from mental illness, and how those relationships shape you and your understanding of the world. Required reading for anyone who knows someone with a mental illness, psychiatrists, psychology students, doctors, law enforcement officers, people working with the homeless, anyone looking to deepen their sense of empathy and understanding of others... so, everyone? Incredible book. Thanks for writing it, Marin.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    A noted author of essays and criticism, Marin Sardy is the daughter and sister of schizophrenics, her mother and her brother Tom.  Although her mother was never officially diagnosed, doctors suggested that she did have some form of schizophrenia, and, to Marin, her mother was stolen by this “shapeless thief”.  The earlier parts of the book explore schizophrenia in a way that feels rather loosely connected, and indeed, portions of this book were previously published as essays:  personal experienc A noted author of essays and criticism, Marin Sardy is the daughter and sister of schizophrenics, her mother and her brother Tom.  Although her mother was never officially diagnosed, doctors suggested that she did have some form of schizophrenia, and, to Marin, her mother was stolen by this “shapeless thief”.  The earlier parts of the book explore schizophrenia in a way that feels rather loosely connected, and indeed, portions of this book were previously published as essays:  personal experiences, effects on families, a possible link to creativity, David Bowie and Ms. Sardy’s own wardrobe choices.  However, as the book nears its central story, that of her brother Tom, its earlier disjointedness seems purposeful, a mimicking of the “episodic, fragmented, gaping” effect of schizophrenia itself.  Life to a schizophrenic is described as “a series of stills”. Tom’s story is heartbreaking, and that is neither trite nor a cliche, no.  No other statement does justice.  Robbed of all hope and promise, homeless on the streets of Anchorage, in and out of our inadequate mental health care systems, loved helplessly by family and friends who shelter him when possible and search endlessly for resources, solutions, help of any kind.  Ultimately, Ms. Sardy relates a personal experience with a baby raven as a way to tell us that “…sometimes, ceremony is the only resolution we can have.”  A deeply moving and thought-provoking reading experience.  Available in May wherever books are sold. Full Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided to me by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group / Pantheon via NetGalley.  I would like to thank the publisher and the author for providing me this opportunity.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    When just a young girl, Marin Sardy’s mother began exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, though she never admitted to a problem and therefore was never diagnosed or treated. She did however, keep foil on the end of the television antennas and was so fearful of assassins she barricaded the door at night and often took the children to sleep in a motel. Her parents got divorced, and her father bought the house next door so they could easily share custody, but he never discussed his ex-wife’s mental When just a young girl, Marin Sardy’s mother began exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, though she never admitted to a problem and therefore was never diagnosed or treated. She did however, keep foil on the end of the television antennas and was so fearful of assassins she barricaded the door at night and often took the children to sleep in a motel. Her parents got divorced, and her father bought the house next door so they could easily share custody, but he never discussed his ex-wife’s mental health. At times, Marin thought she was the one who had a problem. No one else was talking about it, so maybe her mother was the sane one. By the time her little brother Tom reached his twenties, the family still wasn’t talking about mental health, but they had to acknowledge that the “shapeless thief” that stole their mother had set his eyes on Tom as well. In The Edge of Everyday, Sardy combines innovative slices of writing to explore the illness that stalked her family and how it affected her and her other family members, particularly her father. She also reaches into the past to see how tendrils of genetic code of previous generations might have influenced the present and so to the future. The chapters or essays in the volume take on different forms. Some are list, such as strange things Sardy has encountered. Another is a list of responses of family members--siblings, aunts, her father, her grandmother--to her mother’s symptoms. So striking is the repetition of hopelessness and lack of understanding evident in the “I don’t know”s in their reflections. Another chapter is told in “loops” of time. The writing is lovely and raw, showing how mental illness echoes in a family, a group of friends, and a community. Sardy also frequently calls attention to the inadequate institutions available for those suffering from mental health issues which keeps them from getting the individualized treatment they need. Though the chapters cover diverse subjects, from Sardy’s teenage gymnastics career to her David Bowie-inspired wardrobe in her twenties and her relationship with wicca, the theme of walking the line between mental health and mental illness winds through them giving them a cohesiveness. Only one chapter, “Dades Gorge,” seemed out of place, and I am slightly mystified as to why it was included. Also, after Tom began exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, Sardy focuses on him and puts aside the thread of her mother; I would have liked their stories as they affected Sardy to be more integrated. The Edge of Schizophrenia cuts deeply and though the story is often painful, it reveals in beautiful prose a family’s struggle with this mental illness that is still often misunderstood. The book will appeal to those who enjoy readings memoirs as well as anyone who desires an intimate account of living with a family member having this condition. Thank you to NetGalley and Pantheon Books for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. ...aka darzy... | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    An extraordinary memoir--a brilliant, beautiful, heart-wrenching work. The book also has an interesting structure: in addition to the deeply compelling family story, the author adds in some thoughtful, measured, cautious, yet stimulating science writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    sanne_reads

    3.5*

  6. 4 out of 5

    E B

    Gorgeously written Highly recommend

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara Rauch

    The Edge of Every Day explores the lines of mental illness that course through Sardy's family tree: beginning with her mother, looping outward to her extended family, and ultimately zeroing in on her brother's brother's descent into delusions, his choice of homelessness, and ultimately, his suicide. She delves into the science behind mental illness, without ever losing sight of the deeply personal and emotional nature of watching a loved one's decline. The Edge of Every Day is a compassionate, e The Edge of Every Day explores the lines of mental illness that course through Sardy's family tree: beginning with her mother, looping outward to her extended family, and ultimately zeroing in on her brother's brother's descent into delusions, his choice of homelessness, and ultimately, his suicide. She delves into the science behind mental illness, without ever losing sight of the deeply personal and emotional nature of watching a loved one's decline. The Edge of Every Day is a compassionate, empathetic, moving, and beautifully written exploration of the toll mental illness takes on sufferers and their family members. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jilly

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sue Lunde

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth Galante

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brittany | thebookishfiiasco

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie Lunde

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dorie

    The Edge Of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia by Marin Sardy due 5-21-2019 Pantheon 5.0 / 5.0 This is a fantastic memoir! Absorbing and compelling, told with amazing candor, insight and understanding, I thought this was amazing and totally enjoyed it. Marin Sardys struggle to understand her mother and her brothers diagnosis of schizophrenia, and her deep desire to be able to communicate with them were incredible and inspiring. Her support made a difference in their lives. The way in which she sh The Edge Of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia by Marin Sardy due 5-21-2019 Pantheon 5.0 / 5.0 This is a fantastic memoir! Absorbing and compelling, told with amazing candor, insight and understanding, I thought this was amazing and totally enjoyed it. Marin Sardy´s struggle to understand her mother and her brothers diagnosis of schizophrenia, and her deep desire to be able to communicate with them were incredible and inspiring. Her support made a difference in their lives. The way in which she shares her experiences and interactions really give a clear and concise picture of the nature of the illness. I learned so much, and saw so many examples of how stereotyping and misconception have made this illness so elusive and hard to grasp. Thank you for sending this awesome ARC for review. #netgalley #TheEdgeOfEveryDay

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ana (inquisitivebookworm)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dorie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ylenia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Gundel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bee

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Kinney

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liz Sullivan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Scarpa

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin Montgomery

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Maya

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

  31. 4 out of 5

    Erin W

  32. 4 out of 5

    Laurel White

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kristyn

  34. 4 out of 5

    Desi

  35. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  36. 5 out of 5

    Julia Phillips

  37. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  38. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  39. 4 out of 5

    Janelle • She Reads with Cats

  40. 5 out of 5

    Marla

  41. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Chesak

  42. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mello

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  44. 4 out of 5

    David

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  46. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

  47. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Boyer

  48. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Bianchi

  50. 5 out of 5

    Book Pairings (Laci Long)

  51. 5 out of 5

    Elf

  52. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

  53. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  54. 5 out of 5

    Sami Jo

  55. 4 out of 5

    Rachwalk

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