Signpost, Journal of Dementia and Mental Health Care of Older People
We have been given a truly inspired description of the power of love and devotion in the face of adversity. This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to know more about aphasia and related conditions.
The narrative of the individual case is, of course, highly personal. But it also drives forcefully home the message that each aphasia is different and how difficult it is to make generalizations here.
This book provides a moving account of the life of Sir John Hale following a stroke in 1992 that left him with aphasia. It is written by his wife Sheila. On one level, this is a love story and, as such, provides a moving account of the efforts of Sheila and John to overcome or adapt to the challenges of the loss of language. In this sense it is an engaging memoir... this book provides valuable insights into contemporary approaches to diagnosing and treating aphasia. It illustrates the complexity of aphasia and the challenges and theories that have been adopted and tested to try to bring about enhancements for patients and those who care for them. Sheila and John embark on a journey that will test their resilience and relationship to the full. It moves the reader to understand that there can be life after stroke and this can be exhilarating.
Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy
Reviews of the first edition: 'Sheila Hale's own grief is clear. It emanates from every word, each one tinged with unalleviated longing for a lover and friend. Chaplains may read this as a work of medical condition, or a biography of a great man, but its deepest threads are a story of grief and loss. Read this book as a cry of hurt and wonder from a wife looking into the darkness of a world stripped of words, which she had known, glimpsed, lived beside; a lost renaissance garden where once the nymphs of poetry and prose danced in the light of one man's intellect.'
The Man Who Lost his Language belongs on the same shelf as Jean-Dominique Bauby describing the stroke that left him paralysed except for one eyelid, Robert McCrum on the one from which he recovered, and John Bayley's account of Iris Murdoch's dementia. But it outstrips them all.
A triumph... a classic in the same way that Oliver Sacks's Awakenings is.
Sheila Hale's book enlarges the language of love.
One of the most remarkable additions to the literature of illness in our time.
A luminous biographical memoir and an enthralling testament of love... No one can help wondering what surprises the next heartbeat may bring. Sheila Hale's acute and compassionate book makes the unknown country seem a little less desolate.
A moving insight into the redemption of a great man... provocative - and uplifting.
The Times Literary Supplement
I was left moved by this subtle, engaging and devoted memoir.
Heartfelt, passionate... a beautifully written and extremely interesting book
An extraordinary achievement: a moving account of an intimate relationship, and a rigorous investigation into the most up-to-date medical theories and treatments of a mysterious affliction. It raises all kinds of questions about language, communication and the brain. Most remarkable, it's full of jokes and surprises. I keep on thinking what a good movie it would make.
An intimate account of what happens when the person you love and lived a lifetime with is struck by a stroke. It weaves the emotional, the practical and the technical into a highly readable book.
A moving and frightening book, with implications that go well beyond the personal trauma that gave rise to it.
A lucid and fascinating account of Sheila Hale's search to understand the causes and nature of loss of speech... instructive and moving.
When Sheila Hale's husband John suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk, write or speak normally she embarked on a battle to restore him to normal life. This book shows how she followed every medical trail seeking knowledge of his condition, and at the same time maintained an extraordinary loving intimacy with him. She tells their joint story with rare intelligence and feeling.
An extraordinary and touching achievement.
Moving and sometimes angry... Anger, however, does not dominate this moving book: love, devotion and sadness do.