FACT OR FICTION; Living with Alzheimer's

Article excerpt

THREE AGES OF WOMAN by Sarah Willis (Piatkus, [pounds sterling]6.99) All the breakable things in Jennifer's house have been moved to the attic, her husband's exotic cacti are in the basement, and the doorways and stairs are gated: all this not for a toddler, but for her mother, Rose, who has Alzheimer's. While most people would probably have opted for a nursing home, Jennifer refuses, although her motives are not entirely altruistic - theirs has not been an easy relationship, and she's desperate for Rose to remember what went wrong in order to win her forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the strain is taking its toll on her husband and teenage daughter. As Jennifer pieces together both their lives, this moving novel paints a startlingly clear-eyed portrait of Alzheimer's, often tender but never sentimental.

THE STORY OF MY FATHER by Sue Miller (Bloomsbury, [pounds sterling]7.99) Sue Miller admits at the start of this haunting memoir that, of all her siblings, she was the least suited to caring for their father when he developed Alzheimer's.

But she did, and this is her deeply personal account of their shared voyage through his final months. As a successful novelist, she has all the skills to describe her struggles with doctors and with her own responses to the illness, weaving a narrative luminous with universal reflections on fathers and daughters, on the solace of storytelling and the variability of memory.

READING GROUP

This month's book choice

SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN by Julie Myerson (Vintage, [pounds sterling]6.99) This disturbing novel begins with the apparently motiveless murder of a woman in a small Suffolk seaside town. …