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A trade imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press
• SPRING 2012 •
Autobiographical Fiction / Disability
March 2012
LC: 2011042648 PR
254 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Cloth $26.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-28720-7
e-book $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-28723-8
“Roger King’s disturbing, delightful odyssey encompasses
many subjects—love, loss, health, illness, disconnection, and
most of all, the modern American psyche: its roots and its
rootlessness. A profound and wonderfully original book.”
—Joan Wickersham, author of
The Suicide Index
Love and Fatigue in America
records an Englishman’s decade-long
journey through his newly adopted country in the company of a
mystifying illness and a charismatic dog.
When he receives an unexpected invitation from an unfamiliar
American university, he embraces it as a triumphant new beginning.
Instead, on arrival, he is stricken with a persistent inability to stand up
or think straight, and things quickly go wrong. Diagnosed with ME
disease—chronic fatigue syndrome—he moves restlessly from state to
state, woman to woman, and eccentric doctor to eccentric doctor, in a
search for a love and a life suited to his new condition. The journey is
simultaneously brave, absurd, and instructive.
Finding himself prostrate on beds and couches from Los Alamos
to Albany, he hears the intimate stories offered by those he encounters
—their histories, hurts, and hopes—and from these fragments an un-
sentimental map emerges of the inner life of a nation. Disability has
shifted his interest in America from measuring its opportunities to
taking the measure of its humanity. Forced to consider for himself the
meaning of a healthy life and how best to nurture it, he incidentally
delivers a report on the health of a country.
By turns insightful, comic, affecting, and profound, Roger King’s
Love and Fatigue in America
briskly compresses an illness, a nation, and
an era through masterly blending of literary forms. In a work that defies
categorization, and never loses its pace or poise, the debilitated narra-
tor is, ironically, the most lively and fully awake figure in the book.
“Few writers dare to try the scope of Roger King, from the intensely
personal to the universal, and even fewer succeed. But King does.
and Fatigue in America
manages to offer three rewarding narratives at
once in a book that is equally novel and memoir. He has done some-
thing astonishing.”—Helen Benedict, author of
Sand Queen
grew up in London. He is
author of four previous novels:
Horizontal Hotel, Written on a
Stranger’s Map, Sea Level
, and
A Girl
from Zanzibar
. He has worked exten-
sively in Africa and Asia, and has
held university posts in both interna-
tional development and creative
writing. Since 1991 he has suffered
from ME disease, also known as chronic
fatigue syndrome. He lives in Leverett, Massachusetts.
“What does it mean to live in between? Not
only between geographical locations, but
between health and illness, commitment and
freedom, love and loss? In this wry and subtle
autobiographical novel, Roger King maps the
territory of his inner life onto the American
continent. The genre-crossing result is, like
the work of W. G. Sebald, surprising and
Andrea Barrett, author of
The Air
We Breathe
and winner of the National Book
Photo credit: Michelle Aldredge