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Dementia and detectives: Alzheimer's disease in crime fiction
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 13:07 authored by David OrrDavid Orr
Fictional representations of dementia have burgeoned in recent years, and scholars have amply explored their double-edged capacity to promote tragic perspectives or normalising images of ‘living well’ with the condition. Yet to date, there has been only sparse consideration of the treatment afforded dementia within the genre of crime fiction. Focusing on two novels, Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing and Alice LaPlante’s Turn of Mind, this article considers what it means in relation to the ethics of representation that these authors choose to cast as their amateur detective narrators women who have dementia. Analysing how their narrative portrayals frame the experience of living with dementia, it becomes apparent that features of the crime genre inflect the meanings conveyed. While aspects of the novels may reinforce problem-based discourses around dementia, in other respects they may spur meaningful reflection about it among the large readership of this genre.
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