A Book of Light: When a Loved One Has a Different Mind
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In fiction and in cinema, we see people retreat into the family when they are hurt. There they are surrounded by love and warmth and they can lick their wounds in peace. But what if it is your mother who is wounding you and then soothing you by turns? What if it is your father who seems distant or desolate, living in a dark tower that you cannot enter?…What of the family where someone commits suicide and leaves behind a vacuum, a space that seems to mock every attempt at love and holding on? What of the family which must institutionalize one of its members? How does it manage?’
In 2012, Jerry Pinto published his debut novel, Em and the Big Hoom, which drew upon his experience of living with a mother who was bipolar. It touched thousands of readers, among them many who had similar experiences?of living with someone with a mental illness or infirmity. Some of these readers shared their stories with him, and agreed to share them with the world. A Book of Light collects these harrowing yet moving, even empowering, stories?about the terror and majesty of love; the bleakness and unexpected grace of life; the fragility and immense strength of the human mind.
Jerry Pinto is the author of Em and the Big Hoom (winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Hindu Literary Prize and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction) and Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (winner of the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema). His other works include Asylum, a book of poems; and translations (from Marathi) of Daya Pawar's autobiography Baluta, Sachin Kundalkar's novel Cobalt Blue and Vandana Mishra's memoir I, the Salt Doll. He has also edited several anthologies, including Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (with Naresh Fernandes).