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Inside a Stroke

by Karen Lazar

"Home is as old as one's skin but as elusive as an object seen through the wrong end of a telescope." It is this sense of a view, skewed, intangible, which echoes throughout Karen Lazar's Hemispheres. Waking in hospital after a post-operative stroke, she finds one side of her body paralysed and her world knocked out of kilter. Spatial, perceptual and subjective changes force her to view her new life in facets. The fragmented view is made apparent by means of a triptych of clusters which charts Karen's experience from Metamorphosis, through Rehabilitation and Adaptation. Quietly reflective, deeply lyrical, Hemispheres is concerned with returning separated parts into a whole and coming home to the self.

ISBN 9781920397241 | 90 pages | 203 x 133mm | 2011 | Modjaji Books, South Africa | Paperback



“A filigree of finely-crafted pieces, Hemispheres narrates the journey of recomposing life, joy and love from a body made alien through stroke. Wry, ironic, comic, joyous, desolate, celebratory, surreal, the mosaic of text reconfigures love from loss; each subtle fragment a tessera against time. A book of desolation and consolation, I will return to it often.”

Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand

“A collection of rare/nuanced and tender insights. Lazar takes us into the gyre of re-orientation post-stroke, sharing what is lost and what is claimed when what you’ve always been and known changes. A book that pulses with quiet courage and celebrates it in others.”

Joanne Fedler



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