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The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves, by Siri Hustvedt
  1. Fiona Moreton,
  2. Tim Wilkinson
  1. Department of Neurology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fiona Moreton, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK; fmoreton{at}

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Following our inaugural Edinburgh Neurology Book Club, we tackled The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves 1, by Siri Hustvedt, an internationally renowned scholar and author. This book is about functional symptoms, a common but sometimes challenging presentation.

Ms Hustvedt suffers a shaking episode while delivering a memorial speech about her father, shaking uncontrollably from the neck down but retaining the ability to speak. This is followed by a number of similar episodes, nearly all while public speaking. These events shake her perception of herself, and lead her to explore the themes of psychosomatic disorders, mind–body duality, and the nature of being human, in a free-form, expansive and at times perplexing essay.

This is a book with a laudable aim, to illuminate a stigmatised …

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  • Contributors FM and TW attended the Edinburgh Book Club, wrote and revised the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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