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Authors: Andrew Solomon

The Noonday Demon

BOOK: The Noonday Demon
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The winner of eleven national awards including a
New York Times
Notable Book and a
Publishers Weekly
Book of the Year

“Both heartrending and fascinating . . . the book has a scope and passionate intelligence that give it intrigue as well as heft.”

The Boston Globe

he Noonday Demon
examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Andrew Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has on various demographic populations—around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness. With uncommon humanity, candor, wit, and erudition, award-winning author Solomon takes readers on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. His contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition is truly stunning.

“The book for a generation. . . . Solomon interweaves a personal narrative with scientific, philosophical, historical, political, and cultural insights. . . . The result is an elegantly written, meticulously researched book that is empathetic and enlightening, scholarly and useful. . . . Solomon apologizes that ‘no book can span the reach of human suffering.’ This one comes close.”


studied at Yale University and Jesus College Cambridge. He is a regular contributor to
The New Yorker, ArtForum,
The New York Times Magazine.
He is the author of
The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost
and a novel,
A Stone Boat,
which was a finalist for the
Los Angeles Times
First Fiction Award. He is the winner of the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. For more information, visit the author’s website at





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Praise for


The Noonday Demon


The Noonday Demon
is the ideal and definitive book on depression. There is nothing falsely consoling about this account, which is the opposite of a bromide, unless to be accompanied by so much intelligence and understanding is a consolation in itself.”

—Edmund White, author of
A Boy’s Own Story
The Flaneur


“An exhaustively researched, provocative, and often deeply moving survey of depression . . . original and vividly recounted. Solomon writes engagingly; his style is intimate and anecdotal . . . witty and persuasive. Over all . . .
The Noonday Demon
is a considerable accomplishment. It is likely to provoke discussion and controversy, and its generous assortment of voices, from the pathological to the philosophical, makes for rich, variegated reading.”

—Joyce Carol Oates,
The New York Times Book Review


The Noonday Demon
explores the subterranean realms of an illness which is on the point of becoming endemic, and which more than anything else mirrors the present state of our civilization and its profound discontents. As wide-ranging as it is incisive, this astonishing work is a testimony both to the muted suffering of millions and to the great courage it must have taken the author to set his mind against it.”

—W. G. Sebald, author of
The Emigrants


“It’s a compendium, it’s a think piece; it’s both! . . . Remarkable . . . [Solomon] has a killer eye for detail, as well as curiosity and compassion.”

—Emily Nussbaum,
The Village Voice


“A wrenchingly candid, fascinating, and exhaustive tour of one of the darker chambers of the human heart.”

—Daniel Goleman, author of
Emotional Intelligence


“Everyone will find a piece of himself in Solomon’s account, even if he has been spared the experience of watching that kernel blossom into a monstrous and strangling plant. . . . Solomon shows bravery and rigor.”

—Christopher Caldwell,


“Solomon is able to examine depression in its considerable darkness, with an unblinking look at its sometimes lethal agonies. His greatest brilliance, however, is in his capacity to consider depression in the light, to recognize that there are elements of the experience that challenge its sufferers to learn, to change, and to salvage joy wherever they may find it. Personal or professional experience with depression are not prerequisites for this book. It’s a great read—for anyone.”

—Martha Manning Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of
Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface


“Exhaustive and eloquent.”

—Maria Russo,


“Andrew Solomon’s book is an extraordinarily honest testimony about suffering, which often touches, and is touched by, illumination.”

—John Berger, author of
Ways of Seeing
To the Wedding


“Painfully honest, sometimes shocking . . . Few books are as powerful or as controversial, as distressing or, at times, as wryly humorous. . . .
The Noonday Demon
is poised to be a classic of our time.”

—Alice Fowler,
Night & Day


“Andrew Solomon’s
The Noonday Demon
is as gripping as a thriller, and at the same time it has the seriousness and weight of a literary landmark.”

—John Berendt, author of
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


“Solomon says there’s positive power in our demons. This extraordinary book tackles despair from the inside out.”

—Richard Avedon


“A brilliant, kaleidoscopic portrayal of the human experience of depression.”

—James Watson, discoverer of DNA, Nobel Prize winner and author of
The Double Helix


“An exhaustively researched, provocative, and moving survey of depression, engagingly rendered by a man brave enough to say that he loves his depression because it helped him find his soul.”

The New York Times


The Noonday Demon
is an amazingly rich and absorbing work that deals with depression on many levels of perception. In its flow of insights and its scope—encompassing not only the author’s own ordeal but also keen inquiries into the biological, social, and political aspects of the illness—
The Noonday Demon
has achieved a level of authority that should assure its place among the few indispensable works on depression.”

—William Styron, author of
Darkness Visible


“Frank . . . clearheaded [and] valuable . . .”

Entertainment Weekly


“Andrew Solomon’s
The Noonday Demon
is immensely readable and should be universally useful. It is indeed an atlas of depression, sensitively chronicling the illness’s characteristics, social and cultural history, modes of treatment, and prospects. What makes it remarkable is a highly individual blend of the personal and the dispassionate, the work of a benign intelligence.”

—Harold Bloom, author of
How to Read and Why
Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human


“Triumphant . . . Solomon looks at the idea of depression from every angle imaginable.”

—David Kipen,
San Francisco Chronicle


“Compulsively readable, harrowing, and helpful,
The Noonday Demon
is an act of redemption in an epidemic of sorrow.”

—Louise Erdrich, author of
Love Medicine
The Antelope Wife


“Solomon’s done his homework . . . smart, lucid, and sometimes intensely moving.”

—David Gates,


“As the great Flaubert discovered, it’s hard to write about boring people without being boring oneself. Similarly, it’s hard to write at length about depression without depressing the reader. Yet in
The Noonday Demon
, Andrew Solomon, through his candor, intellectual elegance, and ultimately his human resilience, manages to write of traumas both deep and ordinary without leaving the reader traumatized. His book is a large achievement.”

BOOK: The Noonday Demon
8.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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