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Vital Signs By Tessa McWatt Aleksandar Macasev,

  • Title: Vital Signs
  • Author: Tessa McWatt Aleksandar Macasev
  • ISBN: 9780307360007
  • Page: 203
  • Format: Hardcover
  • More and every day I find myself drawn into the puzzle of her speech, determined to unravel meaning in each sentence, because now I m sure it s there, if I only listen to her in a way I have failed to listen for thirty years From Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt After thirty years of marriage, producing three now grown children, Mike and Anna have settled into entrencheMore and every day I find myself drawn into the puzzle of her speech, determined to unravel meaning in each sentence, because now I m sure it s there, if I only listen to her in a way I have failed to listen for thirty years From Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt After thirty years of marriage, producing three now grown children, Mike and Anna have settled into entrenched domesticity She is skillful and poised and still beautiful, an instructor of English at the city college He is a successful graphic artist on the verge of retirement, his awards and ambitions and accomplishments largely behind him Though the couple s erotic life has dimmed somewhat, he still considers her ravishing But their apparent balance is thrown asunder when Anna breaks the normal silence of their breakfast table with uncontrollable babble about hummingbirds After an emergency consultation with a neurologist, they have a diagnosis confabulation, or the scrambling of time, memories and language due to a dangerous aneurysm in Anna s brain that could burst at any moment Not knowing how much time they have left with the beloved Anna, Mike and the kids rally together to support her through the terror of her disintegrating mind But the unbearable strain of the situation is worsened by another worry that is haunting Mike he suspects that his two eldest children, Charlotte and Fred, know of his past infidelity Several years ago, Anna and Mike took a trip to Egypt, hoping the shared adventure would thwart their mid life marriage blues Instead, the trip deepened the chasm, his sexual jealousy and insecurities swamping her attempts at intimacy Their estrangement worsened when they returned home to discover that their youngest daughter, Sasha, was in hospital, having overdosed on drugs Anna was furious with Mike for his cool response at the time, which she interpreted as unfeeling Two weeks later Mike began his affair, with a much younger woman dissimilar to Anna in all respects He persisted in the romance for three years, feeling young and vital and once again in control, at least for a time The affair is long over but today, as Anna disappears into a terrifying collapse of time and language, Mike is wracked by his dilemma should he keep his silence about the affair and spare his family pain, or should he seize the opportunity to be wholly honest with the woman he loves, possibly in the last days of her life Perhaps the answer lies in his drawings, the means of communication with which he is most comfortable Can he codify his emotions into pictures Can he articulate his love and regret and sorrow to his wife and to himself without having to say the heart rending words out loud Narrated by a terrified male protagonist whose deep yearning for forgiveness might only be granted by a woman in the grips of dementia, Tessa McWatt s Vital Signs is a thought provoking and mesmerizing literary accomplishment a compassionate and visceral study of a marriage at the brink of catastrophe.
    Vital Signs More and every day I find myself drawn into the puzzle of her speech determined to unravel meaning in each sentence because now I m sure it s there if I only listen to her in a way I have failed to

    One thought on “Vital Signs”

    1. May 20 2011 I received this ARC copy of this book from First Reads, and I am completely glad I did This book was the first First Reads books that I so desperately and truly wanted to win I read the summary and immediately felt that this seemed like a book that I would love to pieces I m glad that my first instinct wasn t wrong.Around four hours ago, I looked into the mail and saw the package waiting for me Immediately, I took it inside and opened it Ever since then, I ve been reading it, taking [...]

    2. In this book, a cerebral aneurysm causes confabulation in a mother, and her confusing speech lays bare the tensions among the rest of the family, who deal with her degradation with varying levels of defiance, guilt and pain This little book is filled with illustrations by the remarkable Aleksandar Ma a ev, illustrations that the husband uses as the only possible way to communicate with his sick wife Long years of intimacy and sexual satisfaction have not prevented him from straying He blames his [...]

    3. Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt is a potent story about a marriage, which reveals its inner workings at the deterioration of one of its partners minds as a result of a fatal brain aneurysm.Anna, a fully competent and ambitious intellect having versed herself in the study and a Masters in English Literature and the quest of utmost self sufficiency, falls prey to a brain aneurysm that compels her to confabulate not only her sentences, but also recreate new, non existent memories.And it is Mike, her gu [...]

    4. This short novel is written in first person by a man faced with his wife s sudden illness Mike s wife Anna has begun to speak in apparent nonsense as a result of a brain aneurysm that could kill her at any moment As the couple and their three adult children Fred, a doctor Charlotte, self possessed and private and Sasha, an eager to please dancer deal with the reality of the illness and the treatment choices, Mike also deals with his guilt over an affair he had years before.Mike is a commercial d [...]

    5. Vital Signs is a novel that takes us deep inside a marriage in crisis, teasing out the unspoken rules that run or ruin love relationships So much is taken for granted in a long marriage, so much is relied upon, so much is resented, so much is never spoken But when Anna, Mike s beautiful and self possessed wife, begins to mangle her sentences as a result of a brain aneurysm that could kill her at any moment, it s as if Mike has woken from a long dream in which he was only thinking about himself E [...]

    6. A woman has a brain aneurysm which manifests itself as incoherent speech which may kill her Her husband and children struggle to come to terms with what her diability and the planned surgery.I found the writing laboured it felt like a writing exercise rather than a flowing story The husband and other characters was under developed I never really got a sense of their pain worry etc The unsympathetic nature of the husband didn t help me get involved in the book It may have been better and probably [...]

    7. I didn t like this very much The story itself was OK, but the use of the symbols came across as a cheap gimmick, which was disappointing I d really been looking forward to seeing how the author incorporated graphic symbols into the narrative as a communication tool between the husband and his wife who was losing her ability to speak coherently due to a brain aneurysm It just didn t work The symbols felt wedged in and pointless, like the author was trying to capitalize on this stroke of genius sh [...]

    8. A beautifully written examination of a marriage and a family Spare, thoughtful prose, where the gaps and silences are as profound and meaningful as the words on the page The layers of meaning cascade towards what one would hope will be a redemptive conclusion The story reminds us that the crises in our life, in this case the sudden illness of the narrator s spouse, are often where we re examine our lives, and where we are most vulnerable to seeing truths that may otherwise remain hidden Tessa Mc [...]

    9. This is the story of a marriage narrated by Mike as he contemplates the past while his wife Anna is loosing her speech because of an aneurysm I liked this book but felt that Mike was never fully in the mania gears a husband and in the life of his family as a father In spite of the fact that his wife was undergoing major surgery, it all still seemed to about him.

    10. I received this book through the giveaway I was very interested in the book and it s characters The storyline was very good I did have some trouble understanding the ending of the book I am sure it has some meaning but I did not get it.Overall it was a pleasure to read until the ending it left me hanging and wanting .

    11. Mcwatt explores the human minds and looks at relationships and feels she has done a good job, felt the male character was so selfish and full of himself but that s maybe my view but explores the inner workings of the mind when it starts to go wrong and both partners examine their past future and its well worth reading

    12. When his wife develops a brain aneurysm, Mike is forced to examine the guilt and failings within his thirty year old marriage This is a very decent short book with a good feel for reltionships between parents and grown up children

    13. I won a free ARC copy from GoodReads First Reads Beautifully written Definitely not a happy story, but I enjoyed it very much.

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