Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Tacking on the Styx: An epileptic sails the facts, fiction and philosophy of a mental illness

Rate this book
As only a patient can, the author brings the social, cognitive, and physical trials of epilepsy to the reader, braiding medical essays with a fictional adventure.

300 pages, Paperback

Published March 15, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jeffrey L. Hatcher

1 book7 followers
My rating criteria are below, but reviews are always more meaningful.

1 star - Doorstop material. No discernable useful message. Not entertaining. Often vulgar to no useful end.

2 star - If it's fiction, it's a good airport lobby read. If it's nonfiction, it probably suffers from some significant flaw. Perhaps it may be poorly researched but not necessarily. It may have a good or even valuable message yet suffer from bad style.

3 star - I enjoyed it and would consider giving it to a friend if the topic was suited to them.

4 star - I think it has something to offer just about anyone. Perceptive and well written. This is typically the highest rating I give to contemporary fiction. I do give it liberally because I think that there is a lot of fine writing out their. Nonfiction is well researched and engaging.

5 star - what I would hand to a young person and say "write like this author."

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1 (100%)
4 stars
0 (0%)
3 stars
0 (0%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lages.
Author 21 books317 followers
March 19, 2017
A masterful approach to discussing epilepsy, weaving an entertaining fiction adventure in with a series of non-fiction essays. I really enjoyed reading this book and learning about a subject about which I really had no previous knowledge.
Profile Image for Al Macy.
Author 25 books153 followers
January 16, 2018
Jeffrey Hatcher's Tacking on the Styx is an incredible novel that succeeds on two levels. First, it's a suspenseful story that follows the life of a Mr. Edgar Thomas Meyerhold, a man stricken with epilepsy as a graduate student. Complete with unexpected plot twists and romantic subplots, the tale holds your attention from beginning to end.

Without detracting from the pull of the story, the book also succeeds on another level: It gives the reader an intimate understanding of how it might feel to be an epileptic—it puts you in the mind of the main character. Sidebars within the book give enough technical information to allow the reader to understand the science behind the disease as well as the limitations in our understanding and treatment of this complex illness.

This book would be especially valuable to college students, grad students, and, especially, anyone going into the field of medicine or psychology. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Hatcher.
Author 1 book7 followers
September 12, 2018
I authored this book for several audiences. First and foremost, I want to connect to college and medical students who can step back from their exam preparation. As my title suggests, I want to see a reclassification of epilepsy back to a mental illness. What brain pathologies have no mental component to them? Psychologists and psychiatrists have reclassified epilepsy probably as much out of professional insecurity as any scientifically sound reason. The psych community needs a massive re-enlistment to treating the disease. I discuss ways in which this can be productively done in a manner to catch a student's (or anyone's) imagination.

I cover many of the more fascinating (and morbid) cognitive aspects of the disease that are not readily found in lay - literature or even in literature from a clinic. For example, epilepsy can make people do and say things they have no desire to do because epileptic brain activity can effect some circuitry out of context. These actions are known as 'automatisms'. Sometimes people are aware that they are doing, but often times they are too lost in semi-consciousness to be fully aware of how they are acting.

Numerous other topics are discussed in essay format which are pertinent to understanding the mental complexity of the disease. They include sexuality, mortality, and cognition, among others. I review the medical literature for the reader and supplement it with personal experience. Finally, I take these essays and nest them into a fictional story of a young man juggling seizures, career development, and romance. The story will help the 2nd intended audience, family and friends, connect to the stresses that epilepsy imposes upon the mental life of a sufferer. The disease needs to be thought of as a mental illness as much or more than simply the 'falling down disease.'
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.