Unholy Ghost by Nell Casey
Writers on Depression

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Synopsis

Unholy Ghost is a unique collection of essays about depression that, in the spirit of William Styron's Darkness Visible, finds vivid expression for an elusive illness suffered by more than one in five Americans today. Unlike any other memoir of depression, however, Unholy Ghost includes many voices and depicts the most complete portrait of the illness. Lauren Slater eloquently describes her own perilous experience as a pregnant woman on antidepressant medication. Susanna Kaysen, writing for the first time about depression since Girl, Interrupted, criticizes herself and others for making too much of the illness. Larry McMurtry recounts the despair that descended after his quadruple bypass surgery. Meri Danquah describes the challenges of racism and depression. Ann Beattie sees melancholy as a consequence of her writing life. And Donald Hall lovingly remembers the "moody seesaw" of his relationship with his wife, Jane Kenyon.

The collection also includes an illuminating series of companion pieces. Russell Banks's and Chase Twichell's essays represent husbandand-wife perspectives on depression; Rose Styron's contribution about her husband's struggle with melancholy is paired with an excerpt from William Styron's Darkness Visible; and the book's editor, Nell Casey, juxtaposes her own essay about seeing her sister through her depression with Maud Casey's account of this experience. These companion pieces portray the complicated bond -- a constant grasp for mutual understandingforged by depressives and their family members.

With an introduction by Kay Redfield Jamison, Unholy Ghost allows the bewildering experience of depression to be adequately and beautifully rendered. The twenty-two stories that make up this book will offer solace and enlightenment to all readers.

 

About Nell Casey

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The editor of the national bestseller Unholy Ghost, Nell Caseyhas written for Slate, the New York Times, Salon, Elle, and Glamour, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
 
Published March 6, 2001 by William Morrow. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Some rage against psychiatric hospitals and grave treatments (like electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT), but Martha Manning calls ECT “the tractor that pulled me out of the mud.” Not unexpectedly, the principal adornments are those supplied by Russell Banks (who writes with compassion and eloquence...

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Entertainment Weekly

One of the 22 writers featured in this collection offers the invitation ''Welcome to my insanity.'' In fact, the essays in Holy Ghost address depression with notable sanity and stylistic elegance, exploring the debilitating conditions that fall under the depression umbrella more strongly than...

Mar 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depr...

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed Over seventeen million Americans, one in five individuals, suffer from depression.

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