The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found

Avid Reader: S. & S. Mar. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781982108571. $28. MEMOIR
Bruni, an author (Born Round) and New York Times columnist, recounts his experience of waking one morning with vision loss in his right eye. Arriving at a diagnosis for his vision loss took persistence and patience, as Bruni documents here; ultimately it is revealed that he has the condition NAION, which restricts blood flow to the optic nerve. A neuro-ophthalmologist ascertained that he’d had a stroke, which preceded the sudden vision loss. Bruni was forced to engage in daily management of his condition, during which his long-term relationship cratered. Navigating his new reality alone, Bruni describes seeking out other people who have had similar experiences losing one or more of their senses. These include Juan José, a Mexican diplomat rendered blind in his teens from retinitis pigmentosa; instead of his disability hindering his career or life ambitions, he recalibrated, Bruni writes. This is a common theme in Bruni’s other interviews in this book and a takeaway that sustains him. He cites Sanjay Gupta’s assertion in Keep Sharp, that the human brain is elastic and adaptive throughout its life, always creating new brain cells.
VERDICT Although it can sometimes read more like a long column than a memoir, Bruni’s optimistic book will be a balm to many. Recommended.
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