When Breath Becomes Air (Paperback)Paul Kalanithi (author)
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One of the most poignant meditations on mortality and terminal illness ever written, When Breath Becomes Air is the record of the last 22 months of neurosurgeon Kalanithi’s life. Deftly identifying universal truths amidst emotional devastation, this is a profoundly rewarding read and a medical memoir to savour.
Waterstones Non-fiction Book of the Month for January (2017)
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016
Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2017
Be ready. Be seated. See what courage sounds like. See how brave it is to reveal yourself in this way. But above all, see what it is to still live, to profoundly influence the lives of others after you are gone, by your words – Abraham Verghese, foreword to When Breath Becomes Air
An intimate and exquisitely written meditation on the meaning of life by a young neurosurgeon facing terminal cancer. Dr. Paul Kalanithi wrote When Breath Becomes Air in the last 22 months of his life.
The result is an inspirational account of family, medicine and literature, on publication swiftly finding an audience of booksellers moved by its gradual shift from hope to Kalanithi’s dignified acceptance of life’s end. We strongly recommend the emotional investment to read it.
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and finally into a patient and a new father. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 181 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 16 mm
'Powerful and poignant.' - The Sunday Times
'Less a memoir than a reflection on life and purpose... A vital book.' - The Economist
'Extraordinary...Remarkable... luminous, revelatory memoir about mortality and what makes being alive meaningful ... Lyrical, intimate, insistent and profound. Kalanithi had the mind of the polymath and the ear of a poet.' - Heather Hodson, Daily Telegraph
'Powerful and poignant... Elegantly written posthumous memoir... Should be compulsory for anyone who intends to be a doctor... A profound reflection on the meaning of life.' - Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times
'A stark, fascinating, well-written and heroic memoir.' - Stefanie Marsh, The Times
'The power of this book lies in its eloquent insistence that we are all confronting our mortality every day, whether we know it or not. The real question we face, Kalanithi writes, is not how long, but rather how, we will live - and the answer does not appear in any medical textbook.' - Alice Okeeffe, The Guardian
'Exceptional.' - Evening Standard
'A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living.' - Nigella Lawson
'Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.' - Atul Gawande
'A great, indelible book ... as intimate and illuminating as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, to cite only one recent example of a doctor's book that has had exceptionally wide appeal ... I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option ... gripping from the start ... None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: "It's just tragic enough and just imaginable enough." And just important enough to be unmissable.' - The New York Times
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