When Breath Becomes Air
THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER. THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER. "Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option...Unmissable". (New York Times). 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.
Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2016.
"A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living." -- Nigella Lawson "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 Sunday Times "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." New York Times "A tremendous book, crackling with life, animated by wonder and by the question of how we should live. Paul Kalanithi lived and died in the pursuit of excellence, and by this testimonial, he achieved it." -- Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being "Powerful and poignant." The Sunday Times
PAUL KALANITHI was a neurosurgeon and writer. He held degrees in English literature, human biology, and history and philoso-phy of science and medicine from Stanford and Cambridge universities before graduating from Yale School of Medicine. He also received the American Academy of Neu-rological Surgery's highest award for research. His reflections on doctoring and illness have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Paris Review Daily. Kalanithi died in March 2015, aged 37. He is survived by his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.