A Meditation on Modern Illness
Blending memoir with critique, the Pulitzer Prize-winning exploration of sickness and health, cancer and the cancer industry, in the modern world
When Anne Boyer was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of cancer as a single mother at the age of 41, she found herself plunged into a world in which real bodies are transformed into data points on screens, where hoaxes and misinformation are everywhere, where the criticisms and encouragements visited upon the ill can be as wrong-headed as each other - and where the importance of the art, literature and friendships that persist in the face of suffering was thrown into stark relief.
Her investigation of the quackeries, casualties and ecological costs of cancer became an exploration of illness, from the present day back to the insurrectionary lepers and dream diarists of the ancient world; and her exploration of illness in turn grew into 'a profound and unforgettable document on the experience of life itself' (Sally Rooney).
Furious, courageous, endlessly surprising and deeply humane, The Undying is an Illness as Metaphor for the 21st century: a truly brilliant thinker and writer's acclaimed meditation on cancer, the cancer industry, friendship, community and the sicknesses and glories of contemporary life.
“Extraordinary and furious . . . The Undying is partly a memoir of Anne Boyer's illness, diagnosed when she was 41 years old . . . Boyer doesn't just pull the pink ribbon loose, unfastening its dainty loop; she feeds it through a shredder and lights it on fire, incinerating its remains”
The New York Times
“Beautiful . . . the spellbinding result of a brilliant mind confined to the sickbed ”
L A Review of Books
“Astonishing . . . She's a wry, brilliant guide, and familiar territory feels completely different in Boyer's hand . . . illuminating”
“Defiant . . . glorious . . . palliative”
Sinead Gleeson, Stinging Fly
“Like Sontag at her best . . . a masterwork”
Chicago Review of Books
“Remarkable . . . Required reading for anyone contemplating the further privatisation of the NHS”
Olivia Laing, Guardian