All posts tagged: Hilary Mantel’s art

Seven Books That Actually Capture What Sickness Is Like

Seven Books That Actually Capture What Sickness Is Like

[ad_1] The universality of sickness—hardly anyone can escape getting seriously ill at least once in their life—has endowed us with a rich tradition of writing about the state of being unwell, from Sophocles to Susan Sontag. Nevertheless, writers who document illness can fall into certain traps. One is to simplify their experience; another is to provide a happy ending, and, as a result, many stories lean on a predictable pattern: Doctors add up symptoms, produce a diagnosis, and cure a model patient’s disease. The best authors, however, go off script. They do not try to instruct their readers about illness in general, or how to act, or how to think while dealing with pain and disease. Instead, they represent particular experiences in the face of illness. The seven writers below are all very different people from very different times. Some of them had easy experiences with the medical world of their day, and some suffered through neglect and misdiagnosis. What unites them is their interest in the actual textures of human life. They do not …