A Whole New Life
An Illness and a Healing
By Reynolds Price
(Scribner, Paperback, 9780743238540, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 2003
List Price: $15.95*
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Reynolds Price has long been one of America's most acclaimed and accomplished men of letters. In A Whole New Life he presents his most intimate story yet -- a memoir as compelling as any work of the imagination.
In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in Price's spinal cord. Here, he recounts his battle to withstand and recover from this devastating affliction. He charts the first puzzling symptoms, three surgeries, the radiation that paralyzes his lower body, the occasionally comic trials of rehab, the steady rise of pain and reliance on drugs, and his discovery of biofeedback and hypnosis. Beyond the particulars, Price illuminates larger concerns, such as the gratitude he feels toward family and friends and (some) doctors, the abundant return of his powers as a writer, and the "now appalling, now astonishing grace of God." More than the portrait of one person in crisis, A Whole New Life offers honest insight, realistic encouragement, and authentic inspiration -- and stands as one of Price's crowning achievements.
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Booklist Even about disease and pain, Price speaks beautifully. A special book.
Chicago Tribune An achingly eloquent account...By turns stirring and funny, anguished and joyful.
Daily News (New York) Price writes sincerely and openly, without a trace of self-pity... a clear-eyed book that is as realistic as a sawed-off shotgun. It is wise, and humbling, and it bears reading before it is needed.
Los Angeles Times Book Review The man who emerges from these pages is feisty, gritty, angry...and most appealing.