Meet the Utah writer whose field notes on dementia became an act of self-preservation

In her memoir, “Memory’s Last Breath,” Gerda Saunders reports on her life’s most extraordinary journey: her clear-eyed steps into dementia.

The book (with its astonishing subtitle: “Field Notes on My Dementia”) is a literary achievement in the way it blends meditations on memory and identity with brain science, rooted by the writer’s anthropologic jottings of daily misadventures from her befuddled brain.

Saunders will launch the memoir with two Salt Lake City events, a reading at The King’s Engl...