Zero at the Bone: Rewriting Life After a Snakebite

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University of Arizona Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 210 pages
Late one evening in the summer of 2003, Erec Toso arrived home to his wife and children after an ordinary day at his university office. In the darkness of his yard, a rattlesnake lay along the path, basking in the post-monsoon coolness. Toso, lost in thought, never saw the snake, which struck him on the foot and injected a huge dose of venom. Zero at the Bone is a deeply personal narrative about Toso’s physical recovery and emotional transformation following this near-death experience. In elegant prose that inspires as much as it unsettles, Toso takes the reader along with him on his expedition into the uncharted territory of cellular damage, hallucination, and ultimately profound spiritual awakening. On all levels, it is a book about pain. Toso spares no detail in his accounts of agonizing hospital procedures, in his revelations about rattlesnake lore, or in his descriptions of the wide-ranging effects of snake venom. But quickly the reader realizes that the physical pain of the snakebite is only the more tangible marker of the psychological pain and turmoil that Toso endures in the emotional journey that ensues. In the months that follow his terrifying attack, priorities, daily habits, family relations, and definitions of self all come into question. What is predictable becomes problematic; what is comfortable becomes disconcerting. In a story that hinges on a common fear about an unlikely event—that of a snakebite—Toso uncovers a more widespread reality that many of us do not fear enough—complacency.
 

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Zero at the bone: rewriting life after a snakebite

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Toso (writing, Univ. of Arizona) writes with simplicity and clarity about his near-fatal, life-shattering encounter with a rattlesnake. Not all rattlesnake bites are problematic, but his brought on ... Read full review

Contents

Day Begins
6
Darkness and Silence
18
f Someone at the Door
24
J Crossing Deep Waters
30
lo Momentum
67
The Plumed Serpent
80
IS Enemies and Brothers
95
IS Patterns
106
Unwinding Narrative
134
Clocktime
145
2f Spiral Travel
152
j Holding Breath
162
While I Was Gone
171
Learning to Breathe
179
So Cultivating Balance
204
Acknowledgments
211

Seeing Inside
123

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