David MacLean forgot everything about himself -- everything

'The Answer to the Riddle is Me'
'The Answer to the Riddle is Me' by David Stuart MacLean
Book cover courtesy of publisher

A malaria drug erased much of David MacLean's memory when he was thousands of miles away from his family, and at the mercy of strangers. MacLean first described his harrowing, total memory loss on This American Life.

Now he's written about his tale in the new book The Answer to the Riddle Is Me.

Here's the publisher's description of the book:

In 2002, at age twenty-eight, David MacLean woke up in a foreign land with his memory wiped clean. No money. No passport. No identity. Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. Soon he could remember song lyrics and scenes from television shows, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he loved. All of these symptoms, it turned out, were the result of the commonly prescribed malarial medication he was taking. Upon his return to the States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself. A deeply felt, closely researched, and intensely personal book, The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, drawn from MacLean's award-winning This American Life essay, confronts and celebrates the dark, mysterious depths of our psyches and the myriad ways we are all unknowable, especially to ourselves.

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