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The Measure of Darkness

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction Winner
National Reading Group Month “Great Group Reads” selection

“A deft exploration of the heart and mind that offers the pathos of a Sam Shepard play nested within the unreliable storytelling of Christopher Nolan’s Memento.” — Kirkus Reviews

Martin, an acclaimed architect, emerges from a coma after a roadside accident to find hi
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Bellevue Literary Press
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Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Measure of Darkness by Liam Durcan is the story of Martin Fallon, an architect who comes out of a coma to find that he has had a brain injury causing "neglect syndrome"-the loss of spatial awareness. As Martin refuses to accept his limitations, he careens into conflict with all those around him, including his former partners, his daughters, and his formerly estranged brother. Brendan Fallon has come out to take care of his brother, despite the passage of many years of no contact. When they w ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
This was a very entertaining book about a man with “neglect syndrome”. The main character, Martin, wakes up from a coma to learn that he was in an accident and now suffers from “neglect syndrome” though he believes he’s fine. He literally can’t perceive half of his world but he doesn’t understand that. He’s shocked to learn that due to his disability, his architect license has been withdrawn and he can no longer work doing what he loves.

Although his estranged brother and his own two daughters a
Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Martin was a successful architect, with his own company. He had a family, but a distant one. And then he was in an accident which put him in a coma. After he awoke, he was in the hospital for many months, doing physical therapy to regain skills that were once so easy for him. He felt as though he was doing much better, but what he didn't realize was that he had a brain injury that blocked part of his vision. His brother, Brendan, from whom Martin had been estranged for years, decides it is his f ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was well written with a dark, somber air. Essentially it is about the frailty of life. No matter how successful some people are there are always other things you didn't achieve. For most of us, I hope, we know this and move on and enjoy life, for others it is always there. A disappointment, depressing the person, making their success seem inconsequential.

For me this book was especially poignant because of being a nurse and in the past, want to be architect. Martin is an acco
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is a neurologist, who can write pretty well.

Martin, a well-known architect wakes up from a coma. He has neglect but won't acknowledge it, and other challenges - he can never work as an architect again. His estranged brother has been taking care of his affairs, but he thinks there's a conspiracy keeping him from his work and his old life.

Melnikov, an obscure and reclusive Soviet architect, becomes his muse and focus as he tries to get back to where he was. But he starts to realize that
Ruth Daniels
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating study into the mind of an architect who comes out of a coma after a serious car accident and struggles with the aftermath. To say more would lessen the impact. Very thought provoking.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In The Measure of Darkness, author Liam Durcan uses his scientific and medical background to write a novel about the fractured mind. The Measure of Darkness is about a man who has lost important neurological capabilities. It’s also about brotherly love and estrangement, the ways we bond to and drift from our families. This novel takes a close look at suicide, what drives a person to it and what happens in the aftermath of an attempt. It explores human closeness (and its lack), professional ident ...more
Susan Barton
Martin Fallon wakes from a coma after an automobile accident only to find that he now suffers from a debilitating brain condition known as “spatial neglect syndrome”. Martin must accept that he can no longer continue life as the celebrated architect he was before his brain injury. He has no recollection of the accident and what led up to it. He grows increasingly agitated and paranoid as he attempts to piece his former life together.

Martin is twice divorced and has little to do with his grown d
Terri Anderson
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, giveaway, owned
Written by a neurologist, this book deals with the aftermath of an automobile accident in which Martin, a Canadian architect, can't come to terms with his loss of spatial awareness (neglect syndrome). His long-estranged brother is the only family member who supports Martin through his rehabilitation and return to "normal" life. It's hard to follow in parts when told from Martin's point of view, because he doesn't understand what is lacking from his vision, and is increasingly paranoid as the sto ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Martin is severely injured in an automobile accident which leaves with a rare neurological syndrome, neglect. He is unable to perceive half of the world but does not realize that he is handicapped. As he struggles to regain his past life and glory, his brother with whom he has been estranged for many years reappears to assist him in his recovery. Martin's arrogance and lack of insight alienate him from his other family members and also from the architects with whom he had formed his company. His ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Librarything and the publisher for a free copy of this book.
The Measure of Darkness is described as "A gripping journey into the depths of a fractured mind". I couldn't agree more! Although I have read other books about characters with left neglect syndrome, this is the first time I felt like I truly understand what it must be like.
The novel focusses on Martin, an architect recuperating from a serious car accident and his estranged brother, Brendan who reenters his life to help suppo
Kasey Cocoa
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I honestly did not enjoy reading this book. I gave it several attempts as I feel a book I struggle with might not present a struggle when read in a different frame of mind. For me it felt like there was a disconnection between the narrator and the reader which wasn't fully recovered when the point of view was altered. It became a chore to work through the book which I simply do not have time for. For those who have endless hours to dissect and digest what they are reading, it may well be rather ...more
Barbara Sibbald
What happens when you have to relive a hellish episode in our life? An acclaimed architect emerges from a coma to find he's lost his firm -- a fact he'd known but forgotten -- as well as his ability to practice. And so the losses mount as paranoia sets in and the truth gradually reveals itself.
A compelling story, set in and around Montreal. Of particular interest to anyone curious about visual creativity -- and its loss.
Dr. Durcan is a fine writer; you'll enjoy this.
Kathleen Gray
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not an easy read but worthwhile, especially if you have a friend or relative who has had a neurological incident or condition. It was fascinating to journey with Martin through the darkness. This is well written and thoughtfully plotted, and explores a unique situation. THanks to Edelweiss for the ARC- I likely would not have picked this one off the library shelf and I would have missed a very good novel.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Compelling while I was reading, but unsatisfying in the final pages. I prefer a little more reveal in the plot/story, a little less philosophizing. Perhaps more interesting to someone who knows more about architecture.
Samantha Penrose
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 This was about as dry and clinical a prose as you could get, but that's what made it so realistic. Raw. There is no neat bow to wrap this one up, the ending is abrupt, but nicely done. Probably not for everyone, but I liked it.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent novel by a Canadian writer I didn't know. He's also a neuroscientist who teaches at McGill, so especially well equipped to writer about a protagonist who is brain damaged. A wonderful book.
Kelly Nickerson
rated it liked it
Mar 27, 2016
Mary Walker Baron
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Apr 19, 2017
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Jun 14, 2016
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May 30, 2016
rated it liked it
Mar 25, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2017
Dana Baran
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2017
Marie Pope
rated it liked it
Aug 14, 2016
rated it it was ok
May 01, 2016
saul zidulka-bejcek
rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2016
Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Very good writing.
Diane Hamilton
rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2016
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Liam Durcan was born in Winnipeg where obtained his MD from the University of Manitoba.He has published short fiction since 2000 in a variety of Canadian and American Journals. His short fiction has won the 2004 Quebec Writers Federation/CBC prize and he work has been shortlisted 3 times for the CBC National Literary Awards. He lives in Montreal with his wife and children and is working on a new n ...more