Lost in translationBMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39535.519167.4E (Published 17 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:893
- Pardeep Grewal, consultant in dual diagnosis and addiction psychiatry, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust
I have never considered myself a fan of memoirs. The genre conjures up images of decaying politicians offering a final rant or celebrities lost in their narcissism. It was something of a surprise, then, to read Sathnam Sanghera’s debut novel, a memoir of his early life in a Sikh dominated area of Wolverhampton, growing up with a mentally unwell father and sister. At first glance the book promises to be a witty, well written series of anecdotes describing the author’s remarkable social mobility and his avoidance of an arranged marriage. On closer inspection it provides a powerful insight into the way ethnic minority families cope with a diagnosis of mental disorder.
Sanghera’s father and sister developed schizophrenia when he was a child. Somehow this diagnosis was kept from him until he stumbled across the truth in his …