Stalking Irish Madness review

A natural follow up to My Father’s Paradise, this book is also written by a journalist investigating his family’s heritage. Patrick Tracey traveled to Ireland instead of Iraq, searching for the origins of schizophrenia rather than Jewish tradition, but ultimately the two books share a similar theme: personal reconciliation to a previously rejected familial trait. The stark difference in the two stories is that Sabar could converse with his primary source, his father, whereas Tracey could not. Schizophrenia afflicted his grandmother, uncle, and two of his sisters, but none of them could help him understand why. This incurable mental illness cast its pall over every member of Tracey’s family, and not even leaving the country could get Tracey away from it. So Tracey turned back, traveling throughout Ireland in a quest to redeem himself, if not his sisters. Tracing his grandmother’s line back another three generations, Tracey found an ancestor, Mary Egan, who emigrated to the United States during the potato famine. By the time she arrived she was schizophrenic, and she handed the illness down in her genes. This book recounts both the dead ends and the discoveries Tracey found as he ran the gamut from scientists to local historians to schizophrenia support groups in Ireland, a nation with a disproportionately large population of schizophrenics and the folklore to match.

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One Response to “Stalking Irish Madness review”

  1. I could not put this book down it was so moving, interesting and informative. I want to say a lot more but I am at work now. “Powerful”.

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