When Breath Becomes Air (Paperback)
  • When Breath Becomes Air (Paperback)

When Breath Becomes Air (Paperback)

4 Reviews Write your review
£8.99 £6.99
Paperback Published: 05/01/2017
  • Save £2.00
  • 10+ in stock

Usually despatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016

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.

Synopsis: penguinrandomhouse.com

‘When Breath becomes Air tells us what it means to live a good life, by giving us a glimpse of an exceptional one.’ - The Financial Times 

 ‘Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option...Unmissable.’ - The New York Times

‘A stark, fascinating, well-written and heroic memoir.’ - The Times

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784701994

You may also be interested in...

“What do you mean you haven't read it?!?!”

But seriously! This book nearly had me in tears on the train home and I didn't even cry at Titanic. And not even sad tears really because although it was sad and a heart wrenching journey through cancer,... More

Lizzie, Vlogger at Sew Many Books @littlehux

“A lyrical memoir on the balance of life and death; stunning”

In his sixth year into his residency as a neurosurgeon, Paul discovers he has cancer. Paul always dreamt of being both a writer and doctor, and with time moving on without him, he began his memoir.

When Breath... More

“Challenging and awe-inspiring”

I knew a little about this book before I started, I knew I was in for an emotional read, but I hadn’t quite anticipated how affecting it would be.
Death. Something that certainly lies ahead for us all in one form or... More

Paperback edition
11th January 2017
Helpful? Upvote 1

Your review has been submitted successfully.

We would love to hear what you think of Waterstones. Why not review Waterstones on Trustpilot?

Review us on Trustpilot