Two memoirs recount the psychic and physical intricacies of illness
The Two Kinds of Decay:
by Sarah Manguso
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
$22.00 List Price
In general, we don’t enjoy hearing about other people’s illnesses. If you say, “How are you?” to an acquaintance or a new friend, you want to get back a pat “Fine,” not some lengthy disquisition on the latest ache or pain. The exception to this rule occurs when both people have something wrong with them: In that case, a person is willing to listen for a while so that he can later work off his own complaints.