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MEDIA MIX

"The Healing Circle: Authors Writing of Recovery" Edited by Patricia Foster and Mary Swander; Plume $13.95, 277 pages

April 27, 1998

This book deserves a very wide audience that could include people who suffer from severe or chronic illness, health professionals (especially nurses-in-training and medical students), and any lover of good writing. "The Healing Circle" is a collection of 14 essays by successful writers--such as Jane Smiley and Dennis Covington--describing their individual battles with illness and the journey of healing. The essays transcend mere disease memoirs, however. The splendid writing of most of the essays is to be treasured, apart from the messages about healing. But for readers who are seeking inspiration to cope with illness, there is plenty here. No one talks about cure. Rather, each writer describes how illness has shaped his or her life and re-created their relationships, careers and dreams. They are "stories about possibility within illness" and are rich contributions to the study of healing.

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