The Ceiling Outside: The Science and Experience of the Disrupted Mind

Hachette Audio. May 2022. 8:17 hrs. ISBN 9781668604991. $25.98. PSYCH
Arikha (Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours) explores the body and brain connection and meaning of self from the perspective of a philosopher and the grieving daughter of a person with dementia. The author details the ways several mental and neurological illnesses affect how the perception of self, time, and space can change owing to physiological and psychological differences. Arikha, not herself a clinician, sits in on clinical sessions of a neuropsychiatric unit and presents examples of various cases and conditions in which a patient has lost their sense of self. The author draws connections from each case to modern and classic neuroscience and psychology. Arikha also draws connections to her own experience as a daughter of a woman whose dementia has progressed. Where the work includes descriptions of research, medical histories, or psychological foundation, narrator Fenella Fudge is easy to understand and speaks clearly, while treating the stories of individual humans, including the author’s, with sensitivity.
VERDICT Approachable and humanizing, this work is made accessible by the narrator’s flowing, conversational style. A worthwhile purchase.
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