Bush, Catherine "Claire's Head" - 2004
I was given this book by a Canadian friend who knows how often I get a migraine. If you have never experienced one, this book will tell you all about it, even though it is a novel. And if you suffer from them, you will find that somebody finally was able to describe the kind of pain you get and that you are never able to describe yourself to someone who doesn't know what you are going through.
Claire is the youngest of three sisters. Two of them suffer from migraine, it's in their family, same as in mine. They remember their childhood in dark bedrooms and with a lot of restrictions in life. When her older sister gets reported missing, Claire goes on a journey not only to find her sister but also to understand her headaches better.
I really like this book. If you have any interest or know someone with migraines, you should read this book.
From the back cover:
"On a quiet June morning, Toronto cartographer Claire Barber receives a phone call telling her that her sister Rachel, a freelance medical journalist living in New York, seems to have vanished. Last heard from while on assignment in Montreal, Rachel cancelled a trip to visit her six-year-old daughter, who lives with Claire’s middle sister, in Toronto. Among the many fears that haunt Claire as she begins to track Rachel’s whereabouts is that Rachel’s worsening migraines have pushed her beyond her limits.
As Claire disrupts her orderly life to follow news of Rachel to Montreal, to Amsterdam, to Italy, and, ultimately, to Las Vegas and Mexico in the company of Rachel’s ex-lover, Brad, she enters a world of neurologists and New Age healers. Struggling with her own headaches, Claire embarks on what becomes an emotional journey, one that brings to the fore her parents’ sudden death eight years earlier. It also reveals the heightening tensions in her relationship with her partner, Stefan, portraying along the way long-held secrets from the past as well as the uniquely complex and irreplaceable bond between sisters. What Claire comes to discover will set her life on a new course.
Taking place over one summer, but delving back into the past, Claire’s Head provides both a layered, engrossing story and a meditation on how we live with pain and what we will give up to be free of it, written with all the insight, intelligence, and storytelling artistry for which Catherine Bush’s fiction has come to be known. With this, her third novel, she has once again proved herself to be one of Canadian fiction’s most striking and original voices."
See also my list of "Migraine Books"