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When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese
When Breath Becomes Air
by: (author) (author)
4.07 70
For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a... show more
For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.Advance praise for When Breath Becomes Air“[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty.”—Cheryl Strayed“Rattling, heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful, the too-young Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir is proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.”—Atul Gawande“Those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor—I would recommend it to anyone, everyone.”—Ann Patchett“Inspiring . . . This deeply moving memoir reveals how much can be achieved through service and gratitude when a life is courageously and resiliently lived.”—Publishers Weekly “Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “This eloquent, heartfelt meditation on the choices that make live worth living, even as death looms, will prompt readers to contemplate their own values and mortality.”—Booklist “Every doctor should read this book—written by a member of our own tribe, it helps us understand and overcome the barriers we all erect between ourselves and our patients as soon as we are out of medical school.”—Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery“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
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780812988406 (081298840X)
ASIN: 081298840X
Publisher: Random House
Pages no: 256
Edition language: English
Bookstores:
Community Reviews
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents rated it
5.0 When Breath Becomes Air
This book really touched me. The author is now dead. He was a neurosurgeon who just got to the point where he could benefit from it. He struggled through all that comes with getting such an advanced degree. He was finally thinking of the benefits. The money would start coming in, a home of his ...
My Never Ending List
My Never Ending List rated it
5.0 When Breath Becomes Air
He was devoting his life to save others when suddenly he found out that his future could not be thought of in decades but only in months or years and soon his role would be switched, the doctor would soon become the patient. As I read this novel, I thought over and over again about the notion of enj...
Ellen Allen Writes
Ellen Allen Writes rated it
0.0 When Breath Becomes Air; over-hyped and way too sentimental
I had been wanting to read Paul Kalanithi's memoir for a while, having read a rave review in the New York Times; he was an esteemed neurosurgeon, diagnosed with terminal cancer in his 30s, who wrote this memoir before his death. The reviews said it provided interesting answers to the question, "what...
runner
runner rated it
4.0 A tough but essential read
The story of neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi and how he comes to terms with the news that he has terminal lung cancer. How can a young life so full of promise, a young man blessed with intellect and warmness be so cruelly cut short. The story is concluded by his wife Lucy and though the writing is sad a...
JL's Bibliomania
JL's Bibliomania rated it
4.0 When Breath Becomes Air
Part autobiography, part exposition of personal philosophy on life and mortality, When Breath Becomes Air is the dying legacy of Paul Kalanithi, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer near the end of his neurosurgical residency. While Paul deservedly is given the main billing, credit also nee...
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