In 1992, American author Marilyn French, a smoker for 48 years, was diagnosed as having cancer of the oesophagus, which is almost always fatal, and was told she had only a year to live. Five years later, having battled with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a heart attack and a breaking back, she was still alive - and, remarkably, her body showed no sign of cancer. This is her account of the fight against disease and death.
'A vigorous book' -- Mary Margaret McCabe, TLS
'The strangest thing about A SEASON IN HELL is that, even though it is a meticulous catalogue of her descent into this other, diminished, way of life ... it ends up being immensely cheering' -- Maureen Freely, GUARDIAN
'The struggle to assert control over chaos, and the painful realisation that your former life can never be resumed, is a powerful theme of the book' -- Julie Wheelwright, INDEPENDENT
'A vigorous book' Mary Margaret McCabe, TLS 'The strangest thing about A SEASON IN HELL is that, even though it is a meticulous catalogue of her descent into this other, diminished, way of life ... it ends up being immensely cheering' Maureen Freely, GUARDIAN 'The struggle to assert control over chaos, and the painful realisation that your former life can never be resumed, is a powerful theme of the book' Julie Wheelwright, INDEPENDENT 'An awesome testament to the bravery of a woman who manages to defy a supposedly unbeatable disease.' BIG ISSUE 'A fascinating, honest and courageous story.' WOMAN'S WAY 'It is an inspiring, life-affirming story and will give great encouragement to many struggling with sickness or despair.' IRELAND ON SUNDAY 'The fact that anyone could write this book cheers me up no end.' Evelyn Conlon, IRELAND SUNDAY TRIBUNE 'Marilyn French, author of My Summer with George, The Women's Room and Her Mother's Daughter, learns at the beginning of this memoir that she has cancer of the oesophagus. (A smoker for 46 years, she had ignored friends and doctors who implored her to stop). She is told that one survives metastasized esophageal cancer. A Season in Hell is French's personal story of her journey through the nightmares of aggressive cancer treatment, seizures, a two-week coma, kindhearted nurses, and uncompassionate doctors. One told her not to get her hopes up when her tumour disappeared, and a neurologist said (prophetically?), "Doctors hate writers; they always say horrible things about us." It is also French's story of triumph--because she succeeds in conquering the cancer, though she emerges from the struggle far from well, with "just about every system in my body [damaged] by chemotherapy or radiation." Readers share the worst and the best with French, and by the end of the book get to know this woman, feel a part of her humanity, respect her courage, and cherish her circle of close friends (including Gloria Steinem) and relatives who gave her so much when she needed it most.' Joan Price, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
Marilyn French was born in 1929 in New York into a family of Polish descent. She received her doctorate from Harvard University in 1972. A bestselling writer of both fiction and non-fiction, she is also a literary critic. She has taught at Hofstra, Harvard and the College of the Holy Cross and has received a Harvard Centennial Medal.