One Hundred Names for Love
A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing
Everyone who cherishes the gift of language will cherish Diane Ackerman’s narrative masterpiece, an exquisitely written love story and medical miracle story, one that combines science, inspiration, wisdom and heart.
One day Ackerman’s husband, Paul West, an exceptionally gifted wordsmith and intellectual, suffered a terrible stroke. When he regained awareness he was afflicted with aphasia—loss of language—and could utter only a single syllable: “mem.” The standard therapies yielded little result but frustration. Ackerman soon found, however, that by harnessing their deep knowledge of each other and her scientific understanding of language and the brain she could guide West back to the world of words. This triumphant book is both a humane and revealing addition to the medical literature on stroke and aphasia and an exquisitely written love story.
"Their story is an extraordinary love story, and that a devastating stroke intervened has made it only more moving."
International Herald Tribune
"...inspiring, affecting book..."
Iain Finlayson, The Times
"Renewed my faith in the redemptive power of love."
The New York Times Book Review
"...[a] driving emotional story, told with skill..." Terri Apter, TLS, July 2011
"...it is really affecting."
Jane Shilling, The Daily Telegraph
"A companionable, heartfelt, informative book, this is much more than a memoir."
Scottish Sunday Herald
"This book is a mature love story, a meditation on vulnerability and resilience, a celebration of the gift of language and a valuable addition to the medical understanding of stroke."
Human Givens Journal
"An inspiring story of the triumph of love and creativity."
"If ever a medical memoir wrested beauty from the bleak, One Hundred Names for Love, by Diane Ackerman, is it."