The middle-aged narrator of Michael Ignatieff's novel Scar Tissue is completely decked by the death of his father and his mother's descent into Alzheimer's disease. Although he is a college philosophy professor, this son finds himself ill-equipped to handle the inner devastation he feels in the wake of losing both parents. Although he has his own family, he cannot pull himself out of an obsession with his mother's disease — especially the way she seems to vanish day by day.

Michael Ignatieff (The Needs of Strangers) is a gifted writer who incisively captures and conveys the protagonist's struggle with grief. This tormented man finds himself on a path he hasn't chosen and from which he can't escape. His contradictory and chaotic emotions make him feel like a lost soul. He combs over memories of his mother, a painter, and anguishes over the wall now separating him from any intimate knowledge of his father.

Scar Tissue reveals the terrors which lie in the far country of grief and the suffering experienced when loved ones are taken by death and disease. Ignatieff has written a fierce novel about loss.