MY YEAR OFF by Robert McCrum


Recovering Life After a Stroke
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The perceptive memoir of a 42-year-old British publisher’s tortuous journey of recovery after a stroke. A successful man in the prime of life, just two months after marrying New York Times writer Sarah Lyall, is suddenly rendered helpless by a stroke so complete that he’s reduced to almost infantlike abilities. But McCrum’s years as the editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber in London serve him in good stead. He uses his tragedy to learn more about himself and, through his research and revelations, provides others in similar circumstances with a road map of sorts through a very rocky trip. McCrum (co-author of The Story of English, 1986, etc.) must start from scratch to relearn how to walk, talk, and handle the tasks of daily living. In addition to tracing the baby steps he begins, literally, to take, My Year Off also chronicles McCrum’s battle with depression, his feelings of shame at his “reduced” state, his fears about the future, and the toll the “insult to the brain” has taken on his very new marriage. “Who am I?” he writes. “It was a question that would nag throughout my year off, and even now I am still not free of a persistent, and possibly pointless, anxiety about the existential and psychic meaning of my illness.” The book includes excerpts from both McCrum’s and his wife’s diaries, thereby making the book useful for victim and caregiver alike. Also included is the little medical information now available about strokes—especially sobering, since each year in Britain alone some 10,000 people of working age will suffer one. A vivid reminder to seize the day. (First serial to the New Yorker; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-393-04656-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998


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