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Love and Fatigue in America

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Love and Fatigue in America records an Englishman’s decade-long journey through his newly adopted country in the company of a mystifying illness and a charismatic dog.
When he receives an unexpected invitation from an unfamiliar American university, he embraces it as a triumphant new beginning. Instead, on arrival, he is stricken with a persistent inability to stand up or
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published March 26th 2012 by University of Wisconsin Press (first published November 1st 2002)
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Stiff by Mary RoachThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver SacksOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Medicine and Literature
198th out of 1,150 books — 1,476 voters
Running on Empty by Katrina Berne50 Things You Should Know About the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ... by Neenyah OstromTired of Being Tired by Michael A. SchmidtLove and Fatigue in America by Roger    KingDetoxify or Die by Sherry A. Rogers
Helpful books for myalgic encephalomyelitis
4th out of 25 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

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Wilhelmina Jenkins
Apr 28, 2012 Wilhelmina Jenkins rated it it was amazing
What happens when a person's life is completely derailed by a poorly understood illness? How do you go on when the basics of a good life – a home , a family, meaningful work – are suddenly beyond your grasp? Roger King, in what he describes as an “autobiographical novel”, moves from England to the United States hoping to build a life and instead is crushed by the devastating illness called by the totally inadequate name of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the United States, but known as Myalgic Encep ...more
Aug 17, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Roger King’s culture has always been sensible, secular, scientific, with a deep belief in the natural dominion of mind over circumstance. At the start of his courageous autobiographical novel, he’s about to embark on a new life: teaching at a college in Spokane, reconnecting with a girlfriend, crossing the ocean from Britain to get reacquainted with America once again.

Until he experiences a fever and a bout of dizziness at the gym.

The eventual diagnosis: myalgic encephalopathy, commonly known as
Laura Catherine
Jun 15, 2012 Laura Catherine rated it it was amazing
This novel is beautifully written, with a perspective both large in scope and fine in detail. The narrator is hugely sympathetic and the people he encounters, young and old from all walks of life, mostly female, with their tragic stories, their empathy & survival are vividly real. Also, the sense of place is strong and permeates this narrative journey. Spokane, for instance, is a character in itself, with all the people reflecting the dominant aspects of the area & the military culture, ...more
Khris Sellin
Jun 21, 2013 Khris Sellin rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book about a little-understood disease, myalgic encephalomyelitis, a/k/a chronic fatigue syndrome.

The author is a Brit who in 1990 is embarking on a new life in America. He's just been offered a teaching position at Inland University in Spokane, and this offer arrives at the perfect time as some "difficulties" have arisen for him in London.

He's eager to get established, with new friends, new love(s), a new career, in this new place. But seven months after he arrives, he c
Timothy Bazzett
Mar 24, 2014 Timothy Bazzett rated it it was amazing
British-born author Roger King's take on America of the past twenty years is nothing if not revealing. In LOVE AND FATIGUE IN AMERICA, which he calls an "autobiographical novel," here, for example, are his thoughts on the First Gulf War, a time when he was living in Spokane, where a large part of the population belonged to, or had ties to, the army reserves.

"They agree, the reservists, in television interviews, that it is their duty to go and fight the Iraqis, though their knowledge of where Kuw
Jun 18, 2012 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Roger King calls his book an "autobiographical novel," because a memoir "is always a reimagined past and never literal." I would add that his book is so beautifully written and unique in its structure and themes that it also stands as literature.

Love and Fatigue in America is King's account of coming from London to Washington State in 1990 to begin a one-year faculty appointment (creative writing, literature and film) at a university. For King, it was an opportunity in his mid-40s to change car
Erica Verrillo
Jul 31, 2013 Erica Verrillo rated it it was amazing
Roger King's intimate account of falling ill with the disease known as chronic fatigue syndrome - CFS in the US, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) elsewhere - is a rarity. One would expect a memoir documenting a horrific illness to evoke pity. Yet, King's observations, both of himself and of the country in which he finds himself marooned, are so keen, and so humorous, that it is difficult to feel anything other than admiration. What makes this book stand out among other memoirs is King's unflinchin ...more
Giada Da
Mar 01, 2013 Giada Da rated it really liked it
Worth-reading biography of a man struggling with CFS. I think it gives a good sense of what it means to live with the disease. His is not a very severe case, but it's bad enough to disable him. It covers a long span of life giving it a useful time-dimension. Also I liked the way it managed to show how things are (you're ill) while appearing different from the outside (you look healthy and people don't realize how you micromanage every small energy to give the impression of being normal).

I found
Sharmila Mukherjee
Jun 05, 2013 Sharmila Mukherjee marked it as to-read
Soon after the narrator of this moving autobiographical novel, a teacher from England, arrives in Spokane, Washington, he is stricken by an illness that attacks his mind and body in equal measures. He is largely confined to beds and couches, and the smallest tasks become monumental efforts. It turns out that he has chronic fatigue syndrome. Friends and colleagues react with cynicism and coldness. Sympathy comes mainly from women with deep secret hurts. As the disease drives the narrator from cit ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing
The author calls this an autobiographical novel - what I take this to mean is that the experiences were real, the places and names were somewhat changed. What I do know is that he's managed to beautifully craft what it feels like to live with CFS/ME, and knowing what CFS feels like, it is nothing short of awe-inspiring that he was able to pull together such a gorgeous book.

I found myself emotional many times while I read this, as having lived through some similar events (and I laughed at some of
Rebecca Stuhr
Aug 11, 2012 Rebecca Stuhr rated it really liked it
This is an autobiographical narrative of life with chronic fatigue syndrome covering about 15 years--excruciating detail but with a certain amount of distance. King sums up the ways in which he has come to terms with his condition to make a life for himself that is rewarding. He does not write it in a way that comes across piteous, blaming, or self-absorbed. It is an eye opener about the disease and his concluding summing up chapters are moving and wise (not preachy)--valuable to anyone. The fin ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Roxy rated it it was amazing
The cover on Love and Fatigue in America is the "picture that says a thousand words"

There is no way to describe what living with ME/CFIDS is truly like, but King seems to have captured it.

Taking comfort in knowing you are not alone in struggling seems selfish, but on the occasion of reading Love and Fatigue in America I was so happy (sad, uncomfortable, forgiven) to be selfish. For one who struggles without anyone REALLY understanding, or being able to put voice to the myriad pain, body and sou
Mar 01, 2012 E. rated it really liked it
What could have easily been a glum self-pity piece turns out to be a mix of memoir, travelogue, fiction, and poetry that encapsulates "the labor of being sick in America" along with the essence of places like Spokane, WA and desert towns in New Mexico. My long(er) review ought to be forthcoming in a future issue of the TLS.
Nov 25, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. King does an excellent job of expressing what living with CFS is like and how challenging it can be to navigate relationships, work, medical care, and finding a true home and peace within oneself when faced with a life altering chronic illness. Highly recommend it.
May 28, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it
I can't believe this author's words can flow so beautifully while dealing with a lyme-like/CF/ME illness. I've read books by other authors who suffer from similar illnesses and this one is so easy to follow. Clearly, he wrote on his good days. And I applaud him.
Jul 16, 2012 Annette rated it really liked it
Very good description and explanations of CFS. Even though he was promiscuous/casual about relationships, it seemed he needed something more, but didn't settle down or try well enough?
Feb 01, 2014 Hal rated it it was amazing
Not many stories about the devastating nature of cfs. For most a living death. At least he found a way to move with it even while it ate up his life.
Bradley McCann
Jul 05, 2012 Bradley McCann rated it liked it
This is a brave book and I'm glad to have read it.
Chris Kemp
Jul 05, 2012 Chris Kemp rated it liked it
pretty good book; excellent to gain an understanding of CFS
Jun 20, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Thought it was a great book.
Claudia Goodell
Sep 07, 2014 Claudia Goodell rated it it was amazing
Roger King does a great job in truthfully describing his experience with sickness when stricken with ME/CFS. He is honest and open about every aspect of his life, which in my opinioin lends credibility to his accounts. It is a sad but necessary journey the reader takes through a portion of his life with this horrible chronic disease.
May 07, 2012 timv rated it it was ok
great cover photo!

with all due respect to the author, for me, this narrative required a lot of patience & ended up being as frustrating as the illness he describes.

My favorite take on me/cfs is still Laura Hillenbrand's essay in the New Yorker in 2003. essay
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Born on the northern border of London. Dad worked in a factory making lightbulbs, Mum was a bookkeeper. Happy enough.

Went to universities in UK and US, ending up with a doctorate in agricultural economics

Pursued career in "international development" concurrent with writing fiction. First novel was "Horizontal Hotel," set in Nigeria, after a spell teaching rural development at Ahmadu Bello Universi
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