My Year Off

Rediscovering Life After A Stroke

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998.

"To all concerned, this book is meant to send a ghostly signal across the dark universe of ill-health that says 'you are not alone.'" - Robert McCrum

On July 29, 1995, Robert McCrum, 42, married only ten weeks, suffered a paralyzing stroke. Overnight, his life shifted irrevocably. But this admired novelist and former editorial director of the London publishing house Faber and Faber decided to chronicle what became a remarkable journey "into that mysterious, unexplored territory, the neighbourly world of the unwell," as well as a deeply moving love story.


Wo aber Gefahr, wacht das Rettende auch.
(Where danger waits, salvation also lies.)
--Friedrich Hölderlin
When I was just forty-two I suffered a severe stroke.  Paralysed on my left side and unable to walk, I was confined to a hospital for three months, then spent about a year recovering,...
Read More


"Riveting--simultaneously fascinating and fearful, like the best thrillers." -- Literary Review Best Book of 1998

"Rich in information and profoundly moving-- I was haunted by it long afterwards." - The Globe and Mail

"On the very small bookshelf of stroke literature, My Year Off is a worthy companion to The Diving Bell & the Butterfly--and Bonnie Sherr Klein's Slow Dance." - The Ottawa Citizen

"My Year Off gives voice to the millions of people who suffer from strokes.... [It] is a testament to the parallel trials and the courage of the  family members of stroke victims." - The New York Times Book Review

"With candour, humor and an abundance of medical detail, McCrum [tells] the moving story of his emotional journey back from the brink of death." - Publishers Weekly, Best Books of 1998