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David's Inferno: My Journey Through the Dark Wood of Depression Paperback – March 26, 2013
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"It takes us deep into the mysteries of depression, and its power to transform our relationships, our creativity, and our very selves—a remarkable achievement." —Ken Burns, award-winning filmmaker
"Blistein’s book is a searingly honest and deeply researched account of a mysterious and pervasive illness. He takes us to the heart of his Inferno, combing through the clinical and scientific literature and plumbing personal testimonies to create a vivid, unforgettable image of this very personal form of hell. This is a wonderful and important book." —Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies
"This record of a writing life, a talented man's self-examination, a marriage, all enduring the scalding tides those beset by depression know, stands out particularly for its articulated wisdom and graceful prose. It is plain-spoken, funny, and at times almost heartbreaking. […] But insight is what gets us all by and the most insightful writing is always help in need. David’s Inferno, with its wit and thoughtfulness, is a gift to be cherished." —Robert Stone, winner of National Book Award for Dog Soldiers and Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Bear and His Daughters
"Warm and compassionate, often hilarious, and full of hope and encouragement…If you love someone who is depressed (or who you think might be), read this book." —Caroline Carr, author of Living with Depression: How to Cope When Your Partner is Depressed
"Beyond the obvious—that it's a travelogue of an emotional journey, a Fodor's Guide to the troubled soul—the great insight of David's Inferno is that life and literature are interwoven, that we can look to even ancient books for wisdom, diagnoses, and hope. Blistein's frenetic, torturous—and surprise, funny!—tale offers all three in just the proper dosages." —J.C. Hallman, author of Wm & H'ry: Literature, Love, and the Letters Between William and Henry James
"Why would I want to read so much about another person's life except that it's self-revealing, honest, illuminated with humor, and urgent. It has a reason for being; a perfect storm of a book." —Kabir Helminski, Shaikh of the Mevlevi Order of Sufism and Co-Director of the Threshold Society
"There is no hushed reverence, no self-aggrandizing, no simple tried and true cures... just a shared battle and a stunning honesty." —Will Ackerman, Grammy Award winner and founder of Windham Hill Records
"David Blistein takes depression—something scary and overwhelming—and makes it approachable through this remarkable new book. He brings to his story a great deal of practical and scientific information without ever losing sight of the human element." —Rebecca Jones, MD, founder of the Vermont Greenprint for Health, and Vermont Director for Doctors for America
"From Plato to Plath, the great literary minds of our era have written about the descent into madness, but only one book both chronicles and heals, providing us a helping hand while also promising that we are not alone: David Blistein’s David's Inferno. For anyone searching for meaning in this fragmented world, this profound, brilliant, compellingly fresh memoir is your siren call home. Don't miss it." —Suzanne Kingsbury, author of The Summer that Fletcher Greel Loved Me and The Gospel According to Gracie
"And there are times when it seems that the storms will never end, that the vortex of madness will devour all hope — But there is tomorrow, and this is the story and promise of David Blistein's David's Inferno." —Dr. Michael Conforti, Jungian Analyst and Founder/Director of The Assisi Institute
"This is a very helpful book for depressives and their loved ones. It combines literary references from works such as Dante’s The Divine Comedy and Styron’s Darkness Visible with the author’s personal journey and practical medical information while not being preachy or demanding. It helps family members better respond to their loved ones’ breakdowns, provides depressives with a language with which to articulate their feelings, and provides hope that they will emerge from the dark wood and experience relief." —Ingram Advance
About the Author
David Blistein is a novelist, essayist, and former advertising agency executive whose writing is the culmination of a lifelong pursuit of wisdom, transcendence, and humor. After a long career as a copywriter and advertising executive, he left the business world to travel the country in a VW van and pursue his own writing. His works-in-progress include books and blogs that present unconventional perspectives on nature, psychology, spirituality and writing. He lives with his wife Wendy O'Connell in Southern Vermont, where he balances his writing with professional consulting, serious road biking, intrepid wood-splitting, and working with children in the Vermont court system. For more information, see www.davidblistein.com.
Ken Burns, founder of Florentine Films, is a director, producer, and writer who has been making documentaries for more than twenty years. Among his productions are The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), Jazz (2001), The War (2007), The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009) and Prohibition (2011). His work has won numerous prizes, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards, and has received two Academy Award nominations. He received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 2008. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.
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The good: the writer chronicles all the twists and turns of his depression, including the diagnoses (plural). Maybe this book is so enlightning, because the writer conveys his confusing journey with so much, well, tentative grasping. His depression is not of the clear cut kind like that of Styron, or Stephen Fry. Depression can have many faces, even in one person. It is a very good read for people that suffer from depression. It gives an idea of what might have befallen them without giving a definitive description or demarcation lines. It's mrs Blisteins journey to hell and back, but there is much that will sound familiar for the similarly situated.
The bad: the literary effort, the whole connection to Dantes inferno. I consider this a poor choice. The book is not very well written, and at times it just stretches everything to dilution. It just goes on and on. The metaphors are oftentimes forced and artificial, even cringe inducing.
He asks and answers his own questions about the pain inside of himself, and while doing that, he answered mine. The most nebulous question being, Is my sadness pathological? Am I damned to live with the nagging disagreement with joy taking place in my solar plexus? Most importantly (to me) is the question, "Is there a magic pill that will chase away the heaviness in my heart and not impede my heart forever?" If so, what godforsaken, atrocious, and excruciating search will lead me to it?
Blistein's writing is drenched with a realism seldom found in any book I've read on the subject of despair and made me like the man. I found myself nodding in agreement while reading his take on antidepressants. His honesty about his behavior while under the weight of darkness was forgiving, if not refreshing. I loved this book! It is a must read for anyone who suffers in any way, for any reason, and thinks there is a label for pain. Pain is the label.
his marriage, his friends and most aspects of his life. He explains many ways he attempted to work through his depression. He
uses humor, cynicism and very personal experiences which helped me feel as though I understand the inner world of a depressed
person. I ended my read feeling a great deal of respect for the authors suffering courage and intelligence.
Most recent customer reviews
My depressed husband could have written a better book.
He makes his feeble attempts at being intellectual...