Adrian Woolfson

Final Frontiers

The Unmapped Mind: A Memoir of Neurology, Incurable Disease and Learning How to Live


Viking 292pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

In this beautifully observed, lyrical and meticulously researched book, Christian Donlan details his experiences of the unpredictable anatomical ravages that multiple sclerosis (MS) inflicts upon his body and mind. His explorations of his own erratic pathology are informed by his day job as a reviewer of video games for Europe’s largest gaming website. He regards video games as a compelling point of comparison for his life. In video games, it is the player who dictates the flow of events. Donlan realises that in his case, by contrast, he has largely lost control and become a passive figure in a strange and enigmatic biological game being played out on his body. Among other things, the disease causes his hands to fizz and sputter like ‘dying sparklers’, destabilises his psychology and shatters his visual world into disconnected units.

Donlan uses the metaphor of a journey into unknown territory – a ‘wilderness of neurology’ – that he would rather never have taken. Like the early pioneers, he benefits from only the most rudimentary of maps: although the broad

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