“The Memory Chalet,” by Tony Judt

The Memory Chalet
The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt
The Memory Chalet
by Tony Judt


Cindy Knoke‘s review

Sep 23, 12  
Such a haunting and beautiful book by such a brilliant man.While dying of ALS Judt envisions heaven as a train on which he rides continuously through the Alps. This evocative imagery has stayed with me and probably always will.While becoming progressively “locked in” by ALS, Judt’s mind remains very much alive. He escapes into “the memory chalet,” a Swiss chalet he stayed in on holidays as a child. He recalls in his memory every room, nook and cranny, the smells, the food, the snow, the happy memories.He does this with other memories of his life as well, and shares these memories with the reader. We are the better for it.Judt who had made such a huge contribution to all of us through his life long scholarship, continues to make a huge contribution to us as he dies. He let’s us realize the power of our minds to help us escape from intolerable circumstances and shows us that memories can be almost as powerful as reality.

Somehow, through brutal honesty, and no-sugar coating, he makes the process of dying from something as horrific as ALS seem less terrifying. His memories provide great comfort to him and to the reader.

Highly recommend this inspiring and moving book.

I wish Judt endless sunny skies  as he rides over the Alps on his never-stopping train.



6 thoughts on ““The Memory Chalet,” by Tony Judt

  1. Pingback: Why Not Rent a Car and Drive Over this Road? « cindyknoke

    1. Well great, but only if you are in the mood for it. I like reading serious books, but they are not for everybody and best read if one is prepared to think and feel.
      Are you aware of any data on ALS incidence rates in males in their 30’s and 40’s? I certainly seem to be meeting a lot more people with the diagnosis. It seemed that it used to be more rare. I did find this link about increasing incidence rates in New Zealand and I have sent it to my husband who is a professor of biostatistics. If your interested I’ll let you know his preception about incidence rates.
      Cheers & only the best to you.

      1. Thank you for sharing that link, Cindy.
        I don’t know if similar studies have been done here in America, but from what I’ve observed from ALS message boards and blogs I follow… people do seem to be getting diagnosed younger than they were when I was diagnosed almost 17 years ago. I had just turned 36 when I was diagnosed and vividly remember the first time I went to the ALS clinic (where they evaluate around 30 people with ALS); I think I was the youngest patient. I stopped attending those clinics about 9 years ago, but there were several younger men at the last few I attended, including a 19 year old college baseball player.
        One of the blogs I follow is a man from the U.K. That was diagnosed four years ago when he was 29. Sad!

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