Book Club Channel
Praise for The Geography of Memory
"Jeanne Murray Walker's story of a mother with Alzheimer's, like reports from other recent conflicts, is disorienting. How could it be otherwise? There are no "front lines," no clear distinctions between friends and enemies. How did this war even get started? How will it end-and what would "victory" look like? Maybe, she suggests, we need to see this disease with fresh eyes. "As I spent thousands of hours with her," Walker says of her mother, "I began to recover my own past." There's nothing syrupy about this book, but it's full of joy as well as sorrow. What a gift she has given us."
—John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture
"Jeanne Murray Walker has written one of the most elegant, tender, and intelligent memoirs of Alzheimer's I have read. At once heart-wrenching and richly rewarding, intimate and objective, coldly cutting, and full of clear-eyed promise, The Geography of Memory is a beautiful gathering of moments: an artful mosaic of shards that build to a portrait of faith and hope and love."
—Bret Lott, author of Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian and Jewel
"In describing her mother's long passage into dementia and its reverberations through a family, Jeanne Murray Walker has given us a powerful tale of loss but also renewal, pain but also love. In simple yet beautiful language, she shows how the light of hope and grace can illuminate even the darkest journey. For many, many readers The Geography of Memory will be a treasure."
—Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian
"Those of us who've accompanied a beloved parent through the valley of the shadow will instantly recognize the terrain in this lyrical and profoundly wise account of aging unto death. Jeanne Murray Walker's The Geography of Memory is, hands down, one of the most beautiful books I've ever read."
—Paula Huston, author of Simplifying the Soul and A Season of Mystery
"This book is not about "silver linings," though the author believes "the news about Alzheimer's is more hopeful than what we hear on the street." Fully acknowledging the anxieties, frustrations, bewilderment, and tensions that arise in caring for a parent with dementia, Jeanne Murray Walker manages to lead us through those rocky passages to a place not only of acceptance but of fascination and gratitude for the way that such caregiving brings her to new terms with her own memories, with the legacy of stories that are now hers to tell, and with shifting roles that offer rigorous lessons in humility and compassion. The way her own stories mingle with her mother's mirrors a striking truth about how what we call our own life stories are composites, our materials recycled, and everything we call "ours," a gift from those who continue to shape us even as they take their leave."
—Marilyn McEntyre, author of Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
"If you believe there is only darkness and loss in caring for a parent with Alzheimer's, you clearly haven't read Jeanne Murray Walker's book, which sets us straight. This page-turning memoir, fastidious in detail, delivers surprise and wit on nearly every page, teaching us about the immutability and transcendence of human personality, worth, and love. I needed this book."
—Leslie Leyland Fields, author of Surviving the Island of Grace: A Life on the Wild Edge of America