Today we shine the spotlight on
Hans M. Hirschi
When Life Takes An Unexpected Turn
|Cover by Natasha Snow|
When journalist Hunter MacIntyre is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, he realizes that his life is about to change, not to mention that he’s been handed a certain death sentence.
Alzheimer’s is a disease affecting the patient’s loved ones as much, if not more, than the patient themselves. In Hunter’s case, that’s his partner Ethan and their five-year-old daughter Amy. How will they react to, and deal with, Hunter’s changing behavior, his memory lapses, and the consequences for their everyday lives?
Disease is a story of Alzheimer’s, seen through the eyes of one affected family.
Do you know someone who’s been handed a death sentence by their family doctor?
That is the question at the heart of Disease, my new novel. Thank you, Sandra, for having me today, the day before the book releases as paperback and e-book. Every day, in every corner of our planet, people are given such devastating news. In Disease, I try to explore what it means to be handed such a death sentence.
Disease is the story of Alzheimer’s, and we get to follow a couple in their best years, journalist Hunter and his partner Ethan and their daughter Amy, as they struggle to make sense of the disease, what it means to be afflicted with it, but also how to deal with it, to retain your humanity through it all. And how you get ready for the ultimate consequence of suffering from Alzheimer’s. Sadly, the outcome - for now - is given.
I won’t get into the plot of the story too much, but I’m glad that of the many people who read the advance review copies, the vast majority absolutely loved the story. Alzheimer’s is slowly turning into an epidemic, and while one of four adults die from dementia-related symptoms today, that number is increasing, as our population ages. I read somewhere that by 2050, Alzheimer’s is expected to be the biggest “killer” on the planet.
I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s four years ago. A sudden death, quick, painless. It was in more ways than one, a good thing. Mom hadn’t recognized me at first, the last time I saw her, she didn’t remember my name. She had long ago begun to mesh memories of her father with her husband, my dad, who’d been looking after her for years before she finally had to be moved to a nursing home.
The everyday effects of Alzheimer’s are worse for the loved ones than the patient because the latter doesn’t remember. Family and friends do. To care for someone who is a constant risk of running off, who suffers from paranoia and accuses you of literally anything under the sky is painful. It ages you. And while losing your wife or mother is hard, so very hard, after a bit, you can see how people get up again, stand taller, and get a chance to resume their lives.
There are many books about Alzheimer’s, and I’ve read quite a few, particularly non-fiction when we learned about mom’s condition. But I always felt that something was missing, you know? A first-hand account, to be able to read about someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Hunter is giving patients this voice. His journalist instincts, to write down what he feels, what he goes through, paired with comments from Ethan, his partner. Together, they form the framework of Disease.
Why did I write a book about something so difficult? Well, for a while, I had reasons to believe that I might have it myself. And as you begin to worry, your brain comes up with all kinds of scenarios, including the scene of a doctor handing you a death sentence with a fairly specific “best before” date. Based on that dream, or thought, I began writing, and as usual, my characters began to fill in the blanks, began to talk. And I listened.
I understand that most readers on this blog read Romance novels. This obviously isn’t one. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to present my latest book to you here, and I would be very happy if a few of you gave it a shot. Disease is going to get under your skin, I know that. Tears are shed, I understand that, but it’s a cathartic read, one that will leave you hopeful at the end.
Hans M Hirschi
Get the book:
Meet the author:
|Photo by Alina Oswald|
Having little influence over his brain's creative workings, he simply indulges it and goes with the flow. However, the deep passion for a better world, for love and tolerance are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work.
Hans lives with his husband, son and pets on a small island off the west coast of Sweden.
Connect with Hans:
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.