Relative Stranger

Relative Stranger

A Life After Death

Book - 2006
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"This is the story of my search for my sister Catherine, after her death. This is the story of schizophrenia, and the terrible things that it does to people." -Mary Loudon A multi-faceted and extraordinarily honest look at the devastating toll that schizophrenia takes on its victims and on those who care about them, Mary Loudon'sRelative Strangeris riveting, illuminating, and heart-wrenching. It is the author's fascinating quest to find her sister Catherine, who was lost to her family long before she died, in Catherine's home, in her last hospital room, her paintings, her letters, her clothes. But perhaps even more compelling is Mary Loudon's internal journey. In facing the truths about Catherine's life and death, she asks hard questions about sanity, about family responsibility, about love, and about what it means to say that a life is - or is not - worth living. With intelligence, compassion, and a sharp eye for the funny as well as the sad, Mary Loudon ensures that we question everything we thought we knew about what it means to love, to lose, to live and die, and, most of all, to belong. My sister, Catherine, was a paranoid schizophrenic. Her illness was in place at birth and apparent during her childhood. During her teenage years, it asserted itself suddenly and aggressively. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, it had destroyed her chances of living anything approaching a normal life. . . . Following a severe breakdown, she first went missing, abroad, when she was nineteen and I was five. She was first sectioned when I was six, first sent to prison when I was seven. . . . She last wrote to me a year before her death from cancer, when she was forty-six and I was thirty-two. After Catherine died, I went to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, to see her body, and the hospital room where she had died. It was only there and then that I discovered one of many extraordinary things about my sister. For the last eight years of her life she had lived as a man.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books, 2006.
ISBN: 9780385661270
9780385991278
0385991274
Characteristics: 335 pages ;,22 cm.

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