“Una Vida mirrors many facets of my own personal and professional life, including why I strive to understand and combat the ravaging diseases and disorders that afflict the eyes and the brain,” notes Dr. Bazan. “Using jazz and the fascinating chaos of the city I love most as metaphors for the workings of the brain and the human mind, the novel reveals the joys and frustrations that seem to go hand in hand with neuroscience research. Every new bit of information we uncover adds one more piece to the puzzle, bringing the bigger picture into focus a little more and providing us not only with new knowledge, but also with renewed hope.”
In Dr. Bazan's novel, neuroscientist Alvaro Cruz finds himself haunted by a recurring dream of a banjo player in an elusive cornfield that leads him on a personal quest to uncover the mysterious
past of a New Orleans street singer known as Una Vida. Stricken with Alzheimer's, Una Vida can only offer tantalizing clues about her past through her mesmerizing vocals, incredible recollection of jazz lyrics, and the occasional verbal revisiting of a fascinating life that's fading quickly and forever into the recess of her mind. As Cruz searches for Una Vida's true identity, he learns profound lessons about the human psyche, the nature of memory - and himself. Una Vida is filled with twists and unexpected turns, all centering around one of the greatest gifts New Orleans has offered the world - jazz. In the end, Una Vida represents a triumph of the spirit and sends an intensely personal message of hope to the world even as scientists like Dr. Bazan continue the search for the answers to one of life's most devastating diseases.
Have any of you read it?
Note (added April 24, 2012): The book is being made into a movie. See "University professor holds book signing, talks movie-making" (lsureveille).