VERBAL MEDICINE

TWO WRITERS VIEW THEIR ILLNESSES WITH SPIRIT AND WIT

Unlike the rest of the working wounded, sick writers can turn their health problems into therapeutic books. Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor undoubtedly helped her and thousands of readers deal with cancer. William Styron's Darkness Visible benefited its author as well as others torpedoed by depression.

Wilfrid Sheed's In Love with Daylight (Simon & Schuster; 252 pages; $23) and Paul West's A Stroke of Genius (Viking; 181 pages; $21.95) are similar medical memoirs, kind of Blue Cross specials in which the writers recount their tussles with diseases and the imperfect professionals who treat them. Sheed is a novelist, essayist and critic...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!