A Whole New Life by Reynolds Price

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Reynolds Price has long been one of America's most acclaimed and accomplished men of letters -- the author of novels, stories, poems, essays, plays, and a memoir. In A Whole New Life, however, he steps from behind that roster of achievements to present us with a more personal story, a narrative as intimate and compelling as any work of the imagination.

In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in his spinal cord ("The tumor was pencil-thick and gray-colored, ten inches long from my neck-hair downward"). Here, for the first time, Price recounts without self-pity what became a long struggle to withstand and recover from this appalling, if all too common, affliction (one American in three will experience some from of cancer). He charts the first puzzling symptoms; the urgent surgery that fails to remove the growth and the radiation that temporarily arrests it (but hurries his loss of control of his lower body); the occasionally comic trials of rehab; the steady rise of severe pain and reliance on drugs; two further radical surgeries; the sustaining force of a certain religious vision; an eventual discovery of help from biofeedback and hypnosis; and the miraculous return of his powers as a writer in a new, active life.

Beyond the particulars of pain and mortal illness, larger concerns surface here -- a determination to get on with the human interaction that is so much a part of this writer's much-loved work, the gratitude he feels toward kin and friends and some (though by no means all) doctors, the return to his prolific work, and the "now appalling, now astonishing grace of God."

A Whole New Life offers more than the portrait of one brave person in tribulation; it offers honest insight, realistic encouragement and inspiration to others who suffer the bafflement of catastrophic illness or who know someone who does or will.

About Reynolds Price

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Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Published April 10, 2000 by Scribner. 231 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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A particularly moving segment in its honesty and courage (although Price might very well deny the latter) is his struggle through rehab, ``a marooned island of damaged men and women intent on bringing ourselves to a state of repair that would let us visit the mainland again.'' Throughout, Price m...

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Publishers Weekly

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Having been forced out of Apple in 1985, Jobs sought in vain to recover his ``boy wonder'' dominance in the ultra-competitive computer world through lavish spending on his new company, setting the tone early by paying a designer $100,000 to devise the name ``NeXT.'' With no market profiles clearl...

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Publishers Weekly

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In 1987, he began treatment with hypnotist Patrick Logue of Duke University's psychiatric department with remarkable results: ``I instantly knew I was free in a way I'd never felt before in my life, surely not for a moment of the past three years.'' Price learned from Logue to manage his pain wit...

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Spirituality & Practice

In his novels, Reynolds Price has always been very adept at charting the emotional depths and noting the times when his characters must choose to ally themselves with life or with death.

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