John Gribbin

Ominous Auras

A Smell of Burning: The Story of Epilepsy

By Colin Grant

Jonathan Cape 242pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Colin Grant begins his story of epilepsy by explaining that he was drawn to write about the subject because of his brother, Christopher, an epilepsy sufferer. As it happens, Grant is a trained doctor as well as a writer and broadcaster, so he brings a core of expert knowledge and skill as a communicator to the story. I cannot claim any medical expertise, but I, like Grant, have a special interest in the subject, since I too have a family member who suffers from epilepsy. But you don’t need any special connection to appreciate the absorbing and sometimes horrifying tale he has to tell.

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