OVERRIDE

Head Cases

Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath

Michael Paul Mason

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Head Cases takes us into the dark side of the brain in an astonishing sequence of stories, at once true and strange, from the world of brain damage. Michael Paul Mason is one of an elite group of experts who coordinate care in the complicated aftermath of tragic injuries that can last a lifetime. On the road with Mason, we encounter survivors of brain injuries as they struggle to map and make sense of the new worlds they inhabit.Underlying each of these survivors’ stories is an exploration of the brain and its mysteries. When injured, the brain must figure out how to heal itself, reorganizing its physiology in order to do the job. Mason gives us a series of vivid glimpses into brain science, the last frontier of medicine, and we come away in awe of the miracles of the brain’s workings and astonished at the fragility of the brain and the sense of self, life, and order that resides there. Head Cases “[achieves] through sympathy and curiosity insight like that which pulses through genuine literature” (The New York Sun); it is at once illuminating and deeply affecting.

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Introduction
The first thing I tell her is that I cannot help. Her son Jake is thirty-four, my age. His gray, bruise-flecked limbs are splayed out on a bed before me; his mouth is dry and agape. I know I cannot help him. I cannot file a lawsuit against the insurance company, I cannot conjure a way out of this dead-end nursing home, and I cannot sucker punch the aloof neurologist or throttle the ignorant psychiatrist. I hold no sway over the waiting list in my own hospital. I explain to her that I can do nothing at all, and she sighs. She is desperate to see Jake in a program where there is a
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REVIEWS

Praise for Head Cases

“Powerfully written . . . Head Cases sounds an alarm bell for our healthcare system.” —Oliver Sacks
 
“Mason deftly conveys the frustrations and inequities of traumatic brain injury . . . [He] performs a valuable service by calling attention to the plight of the brain injured . . . I had come to think of neurological dysfunction as an almost fanciful affliction, its victims like characters in a work of magical realism. Mason has provided a needed, and sobering, account of reality.” —Mary Roach, The New York Times Book Review
 
“One of my recent favorites . . . A sensitive and intelligent work.” —Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist
 
“Vivid, heartbreaking [and] movingly written.” —Irene Wanner, The Seattle Times
 
 

 
 

 
 

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Paul Mason

  •   MICHAEL MASON (born 1971) is a brain injury case manager based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

  • Michael Paul Mason ©Michael Cooper
    Michael Paul Mason
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Available Formats and Book Details

Head Cases

Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath

Michael Paul Mason

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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