grubstreet books - a publisher of literary non-fiction
grubstreet books - a publisher of literary non-fiction
grubstreet books - a publisher of literary non-fiction
books in print
The Voice Inside Me, by Elizabeth Ikiru
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
menya / oca
The Voice Inside Me, by Elizabeth Ikiru - published by grubstreet books
A harrowing, moving and important portrait. - Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Voice Inside Me, by Elizabeth Ikiru - published by grubstreet books

Trade paper, 8.75 x 5.75”
162 pages, 11 illustrations
$27.95 Canada ($21.95 US)

ISBN: 0-9689737-3-6

By credit card:
(Read first.)

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For ten years, Elizabeth Ikiru struggled against manic-depression and a voice that demanded that she mutilate, or better still, kill herself. Her book, drawn from the journals she’d been keeping for her two young children, is an extraordinary first person account from inside mental illness.

When Saturday Night received an early version of Ikiru’s story she was a patient at the Clarke Institute. The magazine called to confirm the facts, and was told someone with Ikiru’s illness wouldn’t be able to write a paragraph, let alone a publishable magazine article.

The piece’s editor later described it as the most articulate and polished first draft she’d ever read. It went on to win Ikiru a national magazine award.

Here, at last, is Elizabeth Ikiru’s full story.

Elizabeth Harrison Ikiru was born in 1949. Her father suffered from manic depression, a fact she didn't understand until long after she herself had become ill. She married in 1970 and her two children, Zoë and Matthew, were born in 1972 and 1975. In 1976, she suffered the first of many emotional collapses. Over the next decade, she was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. She made several attempts at suicide and when that failed, began mutilating herself.

In 1983, after she returned to Toronto and began treatment at the Clarke Institute, her condition improved. She began to write about her illness. Her first article, published in Saturday Night, won a major award.

She took her pen name after seeing a Kurosawa film, Ikiru, in which a dying civil servant, who has shuffled paper all his life, struggles to do something meaningful before he dies. The word means "to live." Elizabeth Ikiru died in the spring of 1987.

“The Voice Inside Me is the story of Elizabeth Ikiru who heard a voice urging her to mutilate and destroy herself. But it is also the story of a woman struggling to express her love, creativity, and intelligence, a harrowing, moving and important portrait of a fractured yet courageous soul.”

“The voice inside Elizabeth Ikiru tormented her, but the voice she summons in her writing holds a far more affirming kind of power: passionate, angry, sad, scathingly witty, breathtakingly honest. Ikiru writes from the guts of her experience — as a psychiatric patient, mother, daughter, wife, woman in love, friend. Her memoir is an admirable addition to the literature of mental illness and the incredible acts of will, and love, it takes to survive it.”

“In this book, Elizabeth Ikiru speaks of the manic-depression she combatted so valiantly.... her story will inspire other sufferers to seek treatment, and members of the general public to understand better the nature of mental illness.”


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