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The Twelfth Raven

When poet Doris Brett’s fit, healthy, 59-year-old husband had a massive stroke, losing the ability to speak, they were thrown into a journey of discovery. A golfball-sized blood clot in Martin’s brain was followed by a life-threatening heart condition. Later Brett learned that she carried the potentially deadly BRCA1 genetic mutation. As a psychologist, Brett was able to access and apply all the latest neuroscience research on brain plasticity and neurotherapy and her husband confounded his doctors by making an exceptional recovery. In The Twelfth Raven, Brett calls on her poetic gifts to turn pain into art and provide a mesmerising exploration of life on the edge.

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Published by UWA Publishing 2014.

Praise for The Twelfth Raven:

“Memorable . . . provide[s] a space for honest, deep, and crafted reflection on issues that affect us all. . . In The Twelfth Raven, poet and psychologist Doris Brett confronts these threats with honesty and clarity. The result is an illness memoir as memorable as Eating the Underworld (2001), her remarkable book about ovarian cancer.” – Rachel Robertson – Australian Book Review

“With wisdom, courage and humour, poet and psychologist Doris Brett tackles a harrowing series of medical emergencies and puzzles. . . This is a literary memoir like no other. An education, and a gripping narrative.” – Evelyn Juers

“She writes authoritatively, with flair, passion, pace and flashes of self-deprecating humour. . . dramatically place[s] the personal in a wider context.” – Agnes Nieuwenhuizen – The Australian

“Certainly this would be a fascinating and valuable book for anyone interested in how the brain works or who is a carer of someone who has had a stroke. But more than that, The Twelfth Raven is a timeless literary work about the power of love to overcome adversity, about the importance of art to heal the many wounds we all carry, whether that be a recent wound such as a brain bleed or cancer, or whether that be the wound that comes from loss. The Twelfth Raven makes an evocative case for the redemptive nature of art and science working in tandem, and presents a powerful and engaging story.” – Magdalena Ball – The Compulsive Reader

“Doris Brett’s brave and unflinching memoir offers hope to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by stroke through the active intervention Doris conducted and the excellent results that were achieved. ” – Goodreads

“Brett writes beautifully and infuses her memoir with humour, poetry, recollections of dreams and retelling of myths and legends that not only demonstrate the fragility of life, but offers fellow travellers refuge in her strength.” – Sarah Morton – NSW Writers Centre