Diary of a Detour
Lesley Stern is Professor Emerita of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego; author of Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing, The Smoking Book, and The Scorsese Connection; and coeditor of Falling for You: Essays on Cinema and Performance.
Diary of a Detour is film scholar and author Lesley Stern's memoir of living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She chronicles the fears and daily experience of coming to grips with an incurable form of cancer by describing the dramas and delving into the science. Stern also nudges cancer off center stage by turning to alternative obsessions and pleasures. In seductive writing she describes her life in the garden and kitchen, the hospital and the library, and her travels—down the street to her meditation center, across the border to Mexico, and across the world to Australia. Her immediate world is inhabited with books, movies, politics, and medical reports that provoke essayistic reflections. As her environment is shared with friends, chickens, a cat called Elvis, mountain goats, whales, lions, and microbes the book opens onto a larger than human world. Intimate and meditative, engrossing and singular, Diary of a Detour offers new ideas about what it might mean to live and think with cancer, and with chronic illness more broadly.