Where the Roots Reach for Water

A Personal and Natural History of Melancholia

Jeffery Smith

North Point Press

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Winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir

Jeffery Smith was living in Missoula, Montana, working as a psychiatric case manager when his own clinical depression began. Eventually, all his prescribed antidepressant medications proved ineffective. Unlike so many personal accounts, Where the Roots Reach for Water tells the story of what happened to Smith after he decided to give them up. Trying to learn how to make a life with his illness, Smith sets out to get at the essence of--using the old term for depression--melancholia.

Deftly woven into his "personal history" is a "natural history" of this ancient illness. Drawing on centuries of art, writing and medical treatises, Smith finds ancient links between melancholia and spirituality, love and sex, music and philosophy, gardening, and, importantly, our relationship with landscapes.

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Reviews

Praise for Where the Roots Reach for Water

"More than a struggle about one man's struggle with his dark side: It's also a fascinating and highly idiosyncratic exploration of the illness, its history, and its place in the larger world."--Diane White, The Boston Globe

"Jeffrey Smith has written a gripping personal memoir of melancholia . . . He throws wonderful curve balls at his topic, using creative devices and poetic writing to get at the depth and range of depression." --Cynthia Crossen, The Wall Street Journal

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About the Author

Jeffery Smith

Jeffery Smith was born in West Virginia and was raised just across the the Ohio River in the Allegheny foothills. He now lives with his wife, Lisa Werner, in Coshocton County, Ohio, where he is working on a book about the traditional music of the Appalachians.

Jeffery Smith

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Where the Roots Reach for Water
A Personal and Natural History of Melancholia
Jeffery Smith

Award

PEN Literary Award - Winner

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
February 2001
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780865475922
ISBN10: 086547592X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$22.00
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North Point Press

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