Memoirs by those with painful experiences of mental or physical illness form an established and rapidly expanding genre. All three books under review have striking, perhaps faintly absurd, titles but they are all well written, spiked with wit, and thoroughly researched. Emotions are described with touching honesty. Siri Hustvedt’s The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves is the most wide-ranging and academic as she moves through the history of neurology, psychology, pharmacology and psychiatry in her search for all possible explanations for the shaking woman she has become. She asks: ‘Who and what is she?’
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'Auden ... was a monstrously sloppy and unhygienic housekeeper, who was once astounded to hear that not every adult male pees in the kitchen sink.'
In April's cover article, Kevin Jackson roots around the houses of writers and artists.