Book review: Paean to the power of storytelling and the tales we tell ourselves

Full of humour and humanity, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst’s account of living with multiple sclerosis is both unvarnished and upbeat

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst: ‘My body was like a dying coral reef,’ the author writes of the effects of multiple sclerosis

“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick,” wrote the American critic Susan Sontag in her book Illness as Metaphor. In 2017, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, a professor of English literature at Oxford, began to cross the border between the two kingdoms when his legs started to feel heavy and uncoordinated.

In October of that year, the 49-year-old sat opposite a neurologist who, after allowing a ...