Clive Wearing has one of the most extreme cases of amnesia ever known. In 1985, a virus completely destroyed a part of his brain essential for memory, leaving him trapped in a limbo of the constant present. Every conscious moment is for him as if he has just come round from a long coma, an endlessly repeating loop of awakening. A brilliant conductor and BBC music producer, Clive was at the height of his success when the illness struck. As damaged as Clive was, the musical part of his brain seemed unaffected, as was his passionate love for Deborah, his wife.
For seven years he was kept in the London hospital where the ambulance first dropped him off, because there was nowhere else for him to go. Deborah desperately searched for treatments and campaigned for better care. After Clive was finally established in a new special hospital, she fled to America to start her life over again. But she found she could never love another the way she loved Clive. Then Clive's memory unaccountably began to improve, ten years after the illness first struck. She returned to England. Today, although Clive still lives in care, and still has the worst case of amnesia in the world, he continues to improve. They renewed their marriage vows in 2002.
This is the story of a life lived outside time, a story that questions and redefines the essence of what it means to be human. It is also the story of a marriage, of a bond that runs deeper than conscious thought.