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Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic
A lyrical and honest portrait of illness and the way it changes life and faith, from the award-winning author of Things Seen and Unseen.
In the winter of 2009, Nora Gallagher was told she had an inflamed optic nerve, cause unknown, that if untreated would leave her blind. With this news, and the search for a diagnosis and treatment, her once busy and fast-moving life tunneled into a quieter country she calls Oz: unfamiliar, slower, deeply rooted in uncertainty and vulnerability. Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic, written as Gallagher was still recovering, is a moving meditation on serious illness, what helped her through and what didn’t, why a wall exists between the sick and the healthy, and what can take it down partway. It is also a testament of modern faith—accepting of both science and intellect—and a hard-won revelation of what lies at the heart of ordinary suffering.
About the Author
Nora Gallagher is the author of Changing Light, Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, and Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace. Her essays, book reviews, and journalism have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, DoubleTake, and Mother Jones, among other publications. She is also the editor of the award-winning Notes from the Field, a collection of literary essays about the outdoors. She sits on the advisory board of the Yale Divinity School.
Praise for Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic…
“A fabulous book—brilliant, tender soulful. Nora Gallagher is everything I love—smart, searching, vulnerable, faithful, doubting, deeply real, and a beautiful writer.” —Anne Lamott
“Phenomenal. . . . May be the best book about real faith that I will ever read.” —Sue Halpern, author of A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home
“Part medical mystery, part critique of the American health-care system, and part commentary on modern faith.” —The Washington Post
“Gallagher’s memoir is about many things: illness, mortality, faith and doubt, work, busyness, navigating through the crazy quilt that is the American health-care system, and, ultimately, about regaining one’s health and one’s place in the universe.” —Booklist
“A poetic tale of a personal medical crisis. . . . The author navigates the complex American health care system, the fear and mystery surrounding her search for medical answers and healing, and her renewed appreciation for the necessity of vision: to read, to write, and to view the world. . . . A deeply introspective journey.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Poignant. . . . Gallagher does not dole out easy answers in this somber, reflective work. But she finds the humble, bracing imperative to live in the present.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Gallagher] learned how illness can strip away not only the illusion of control, but also one’s faith, hope, and very identity. . . . She radically redefines what faith means to her.” —The Christian Century