Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember
by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee
Writing fiction is a mixture of explicit, implicit and emotional memory. So says Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, who was left with aphasia after a stroke 11 years ago. She had become a writer “who could not use the correct words”. Determined to write every day, however, she employed her explicit memory to imagine a world, while the implicit (past experiences enabling the performance of a task without conscious awareness of those experiences) helped in the act of composing sentences. Her goal was to write a story that would reverberate with readers. She has achieved that with this volume, which describes her recovery and how that stroke changed her brain, mind and, therefore, her self. Strikingly, Lee also recounts what she went through on that day in 2006, when she had woken up with a headache, felt nauseated and then saw her world turn 90 degrees: the sky was to her left, the ground to her right. Although her brain was dying, neither she nor, initially, her doctors knew she had suffered a stroke because none of the usual warning signs were there. Lee’s book is hard to forget.