Tales from grey zone between life and death
occasional drink by the sheer pressure that is put on Korean children. If you can imagine what giving an English class to students close to midnight is like, then you will have some of the picture painted by Cronje.
There are obviously happy moments; she meets Dae-ho, who teaches meditation and forms a strong bond with Cronje. She also has to learn how to say goodbye when she returns to South Africa.
And returning is not easy; Cronje is brutally honest about the struggles she faces when she finds that her son has made some dodgy friends, there is a hilarious sub-story about her trying to buy a car from one of them – funny to read, but no doubt not funny at the time.
This is a book about being brave and tenacious, but told with Cronje’s wit and sometimes brutal sarcasm. It’s also about reintegration and falling apart. A brilliant book. ONE day in 1997, a colleague of Dr Adrian Owen at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, told him of the distressing case of Kate, a 26-year-old nursery school teacher.
She had caught a bad cold, which turned into a much more serious viral condition that left her in an apparently vegetative state. But a PET scan of Kate’s brain showed her responding to stimuli as though she were healthy.
Eventually, she recovered sufficiently to describe her experiences in the “grey zone” of consciousness between life and death.
Dr Owen’s research into vegetative patients convinced him consciousness can survive – even in patients who seem entirely unresponsive.
One day, he predicts, sophisticated technology will mean that the “voiceless will speak again”.
And “those who we thought were gone for ever… will exercise their right to be treated as real people”. |