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The Two Kinds of Decay

About the Book

The Two Kinds of Decay

Transcending the narrow clichés of illness and the quest for healing, The Two Kinds of Decay is the memoir of a patient who learned to see the world with utter clarity, and to examine uncertainty through a provocative new lens. In words devoid of sentimentalism but rich with perception, Sarah Manguso describes her nine-year struggle with an unpredictable, literally paralyzing disease that began to ravage her body when she was in college. The complex words inscribed on her MedicAlert bracelet, chronic idiopathic demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), failed to fully define her ailment, for which there is not yet a proper name. Bearing some similarities to Guillain-Barré syndrome, her mystifying diagnosis was accompanied by grueling procedures, including blood cleansings and chest catheterization, as well as fallout she had not anticipated: depression and addiction.

Reminiscent of Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, which revolutionized its genre, The Two Kinds of Decay showcases the well-honed words of an extraordinary literary talent whose interpretations of her experience form a mesmerizing sojourn.

The Two Kinds of Decay
by Sarah Manguso

  • Publication Date: May 27, 2008
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • ISBN-10: 0374280126
  • ISBN-13: 9780374280123