Half the Kingdom is a novel by Lore Segal that deals with the subject of alzheimer’s. Written in short chapters using multiple points of view, the story follows several characters participating in a research study on dementia that is being conducted in a New York hospital.
Half the Kingdom is an earnest portrayal of the hardship and misunderstanding involved in caring for someone suffering from alzheimer’s and the burdens it bestows on their loved-ones. In one of the final scenes that left a lasting impression, several alzheimer’s patients are lying naked on their gurneys, and their states of dementia has progressed far enough that the staff appears unconcerned for the patients’ loose, open, or lack of hospital gowns. Having read about who these characters are up to that point, one’s immediate visceral reaction is to feel the insensitivity and indifference from denying such a simple form of decency and dignity.
Since Half the Kingdom is told as overlapping narratives in multi-character points of view, it is difficult to grasp the overall message or understand what the author is trying to convey.