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Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature
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Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  285 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Within the literature of madness, there has never been a memoir as wrenching and mordantly humorous as Jan Lars Jensen's Nervous System. A quiet librarian who struck publishing gold with his first novel, Jensen felt as if something had come unhinged in his mind. The rush of ideas and language felt like losing, willy-nilly, a chunk of his mental stability. But true madness ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published March 16th 2005 by Carroll & Graf (first published 2004)
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Jan 08, 2009 Georgette rated it liked it
Librarian Jan Lars Jensen just sold his first novel - a science fiction story set in future India - to a publisher. Excellent news to any writer, but as he revised the story for his editor, he grew increasingly convinced that his novel - which featured the gods of Hindu mythology - will anger the Hindus, lead to the collapse of his life, and the destruction of the world. [return][return]While it's natural for most authors to be apprehensive about an upcoming release of a new novel, Jensen lost h ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Heather rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Adults
This book wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be.; It was cool that he was Canadian though. It was different that what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be more about his mental illness and classic books, but instead it was about the publication of his book, which seemed a little self-centered.
Jul 28, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: english
All in all not a bad book at all, but the book has (for me) a very though and boring middle part where the author bores the reader with ongoing nagging about his book publication. When that's all set and done Jan Lars Jensen returns to analysing his sickness and his time in the ward and his way to getting sane again and the book turns out to be quite deep. At first I thought of only Jan as a deep character but in the last parts of the book you get a glimpse of Michelle's thoughts and behavior to ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like memoirs
Another memoir - by a guy who had a complete break with reality and thought he would bring down the entire world civilization with his novel Shiva3000, and how he struggled to be able to read afterwards. Really, really fascinating.
Chelsea Charping
Jun 27, 2016 Chelsea Charping rated it liked it
This book isn't the typical book I'd read, but my husband gave it to me for Christmas because I'm a writer. I enjoyed the book, but it's not something I'd read again. It was a quick read (it took me a few months because I put it down to read other books). Sometimes when I read it before sleeping, I'd have dreams that I was going crazy, and that freaked me out. But, overall, it was an interesting look at mental illness, and it was interesting to read a book from a point-of-view I've never experie ...more
Aug 29, 2016 Tone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Both a tale of a nervous breakdown/suicide attempt and publishing, Nervous System pushed a lot of my buttons and I'm very happy to have read it.
How effective is Jensen's writing? After the chapter describing his various anxieties I was overcome with my own. I left work early and raced home, convinced that I'd left the front door unlocked and my dogs had busted loose and were running around the neighborhood.
Jul 10, 2012 Carola rated it liked it
It's was a nice read, especially towards the middle of the book. Skip the last 40 pages or so, it's too much yada about his plans of publishing this book and comparisons with other books. Not highly recommended but worth reading when you're interested in the author's 'crazy' breakdown. Haven't read shiva 3000 though so maybe that is an important factor too.
Apr 17, 2015 Ynna rated it liked it
Interesting narrative on an author's nervous breakdown spurred by the news of an upcoming publication of his latest novel. I enjoyed Jan Jensen's honest rebelling of his time spent on the hospital and especially his manic thoughts throughout his return home and back into the real world. Overall this book was a little dull and I put it down for a few days and almost forgot about it.
I was intrigued at first, but then not so much anymore. I understand that it shows quite well how a person with a nervous breakdown thinks, but at a certain point I kept on thinking 'Calm down dude, this is so irrational' (which is the point I guess? but then again I couldn't really enjoy reading it anymore)
Jun 25, 2007 Marty rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007
Sort of a strange memoir about a writer going crazy about the book he's written. Everything's all tangled up - he's writing about writing making him go crazy, making him sort of an unreliable narrator. I liked it okay but didn't love it enough to really recommend it.
Dec 25, 2012 Sidra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well, the book was fresh. I admire the writer and his strength in writing about his lowest point in life. It really does gives us a better understanding to mental illness. I guess all of us will lose our minds at some point in our lives.
Robert Windsor
Dec 30, 2014 Robert Windsor rated it it was amazing
I've added my review to Heather's because I disagree with it being 'self-centred.' It was a blessing 8 years ago but at the moment I wish it was in comic form!
Ketan Shah
A disarmingly honest and well written account of the writer's descent into insanity,and his subsequent recovery.If you enjoyed this,you might enjoy the work of Chuck Pahlaniuk and Dave Sedaris.
Ryan McArthur
Mar 17, 2013 Ryan McArthur rated it it was amazing
Super interseting, a really good insight into the authors mental condition. Funny, interesting and sad in turns.
Feb 29, 2016 Leeroy rated it did not like it
Hated this book. Took forever to get the will to finish. I don't know that the book could be considered objectively bad or anything, I just never got engaged.
Jan 28, 2012 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Scary-because-it's-true tour of a descent into mental illness with a paranoia tinge. Much more engaging than I had expected, this story stuck with me all day long during the week that I read it.
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Dec 31, 2014
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