A Bus Accident in Israel, and Afterward


“After living with a disability for 22-plus years and trying in vain to write about it for almost as many, I’ve finally gotten my thoughts down on paper.” So Joshua Prager introduces his new memoir Half-Life, which details the aftermath of a devastating bus accident that occurred on his visit to Israel at age 19.

In the e-book Prager renders himself astonishingly vulnerable, in part by asking difficult questions: If I no longer feel like myself, am I still myself? And if I’m not, how do I interact with others?

In finely crafted language (“a cement staircase lined with dirt and dead thistles depositing me at the edge”) Prager shares piercing details, ruminations, and conclusions about his journey through grief into recovery. He offers, for example, his experience with Brown-Séquard Syndrome, “which roughly meant that one half of me could move better, the other half feel better.”

He fills the pages with selections of poetry and returns again and again to Herman Melville, whose words he uses to investigate not just what it has meant to cope with the immense loss of the life he knew, but what it means for anyone to understand and accept themselves.

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