A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing

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Plume, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 213 pages
21 Reviews

Reynolds Price has long been one of America's most acclaimed and accomplished men of letters -- the author of novels, stories, poems, essays, plays, and a memoir. In "A Whole New Life," however, he steps from behind that roster of achievements to present us with a more personal story, a narrative as intimate and compelling as any work of the imagination.

In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in his spinal cord ("The tumor was pencil-thick and gray-colored, ten inches long from my neck-hair downward"). Here, for the first time, Price recounts without self-pity what became a long struggle to withstand and recover from this appalling, if all too common, affliction (one American in three will experience some from of cancer). He charts the first puzzling symptoms; the urgent surgery that fails to remove the growth and the radiation that temporarily arrests it (but hurries his loss of control of his lower body); the occasionally comic trials of rehab; the steady rise of severe pain and reliance on drugs; two further radical surgeries; the sustaining force of a certain religious vision; an eventual discovery of help from biofeedback and hypnosis; and the miraculous return of his powers as a writer in a new, active life.

Beyond the particulars of pain and mortal illness, larger concerns surface here -- a determination to get on with the human interaction that is so much a part of this writer's much-loved work, the gratitude he feels toward kin and friends and some (though by no means "all)" doctors, the return to his prolific work, and the "now appalling, now astonishing grace of God."

"A Whole New Life" offers more than the portrait of one brave person in tribulation; itoffers honest insight, realistic encouragement and inspiration to others who suffer the bafflement of catastrophic illness or who know someone who does or will.

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Review: A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing

User Review  - Naga Di Kandang - Goodreads

As I deal with a potentially disabling illness myself, my therapist recommended this book to me. It is Price's memoir about his own disabling condition. The details are not the same, but it is a ... Read full review

Review: A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing

User Review  - Patti - Goodreads

This is the story of the author's dealing with cancer, the resulting paralysis, the pain, and the healing. A wonderful book - so easy to read and understand. I will be sharing this one with friends. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
37
Section 3
84
Copyright

8 other sections not shown

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About the author (1994)

Edward Reynolds Price was born on February 1, 1933 in Macon, North Carolina. After graduating from Duke University in 1955, he won a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. Despite being living as a paraplegic after receiving radiation treatment for a spinal tumor since the mid-1980s, he produced approximately one book a year and taught writing and the poetry of Milton at Duke University. His first novel, A Long and Happy Life (1962) won the William Faulkner Award. His other works include The Names and Faces of Heroes, Clear Pictures: First Loves, First Guides, A Whole New Life, and The Good Priest's Son. Kate Vaiden won the National Books Critics Circle Award. His plays have been produced on stage and on PBS's American Playhouse. He died due to complications of a heart attack on January 20, 2011 at the age of 77.

Bibliographic information