Vital Signs

Vital Signs
Tessa McWatt
Reviewed by Sarah Thickett
Random House
Fri, 13/01/2012

Anna, teacher and wife to designer Mike, is suffering from a brain aneurysm – a life-threatening condition that affects her ability to construct sentences and threatens to tear their family apart.

Mike has always drawn symbols to express his moods and feelings and as Anna’s speech deteriorates he becomes more and more reliant on these graphic representations. Facing the prospect of losing Anna forever, Mike looks back at the fissures that had developed in their relationship, questioning if all is lost or if there might yet still be some frank communication between the couple.
Tessa McWatt deftly explores the difficulties of later married life. As Anna’s garbled sentences become increasingly abstract, Mike’s symbols represent a charming attempt to overcome language’s limitations. A touching, thought provoking read.


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