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The Stranger In The Plumed Hat: A Memoir Irena Karafilly

The Stranger In The Plumed Hat: A Memoir

Irena Karafilly

Published
ISBN : 9780670892945
Hardcover
176 pages
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 About the Book 

Irena F. Karafillys memoir is a poignant account of how the person closest to us can become a total stranger. Nominated for a Drainie-Taylor Award, The Stranger in the Plumed Hat charts the progression of the authors elderly mothers afflictionMoreIrena F. Karafillys memoir is a poignant account of how the person closest to us can become a total stranger. Nominated for a Drainie-Taylor Award, The Stranger in the Plumed Hat charts the progression of the authors elderly mothers affliction with Alzheimers, documenting how the devastating neuro-degenerative disorder disrupts her memory, judgment, reasoning, and emotional stability. It also tackles the increasing prevalence of Alzheimers, and the inadequacy of current geriatric facilities to care for persons suffering from dementia. But this book is more than a portrait of illness. The Stranger in the Plumed Hat is also the story of a family of Jewish immigrants in Montreal. By interspersing remembered snippets of their Eastern European and Israeli past with the presents irrevocable rush toward forgetting, the author of Ashes and Miracles: A Polish Journey tells an archetypal story of life in constant migration. Driving the narrative is the relationship between mother and daughter, although the authors persistent citing from Nancy Fridays old standard, My Mother/My Self, to explain this complex, often untidy bond does begin to wear on the reader. There is no denying, however, the emotional authenticity of Karafillys confrontation with the change in her mothers personality, the shock of non-recognition, the need to form a new and better bond, and the ethical dilemma of making a private anguish public in writing this book. I seem to be simultaneously exploiting my mothers ordeal and--irrationally, unfairly--balking at its endless exigencies. Ultimately, of course, the tension is not just between art and life, but between two kinds of duty. While it lacks the drawing power of John Bayleys memoir of his life with Iris Murdoch, or the sheer brilliance of Michael Ignatieffs Scar Tissue, this book will resonate powerfully among those who have cared for a loved one suffering with Alzheimers. --Diana Kuprel